In the run up to the 2010 Winter Olympics, Vancouver food blogger Melody Fury (Gourmet Fury) is dropping by to guide travelers to the city's hidden gems in a series of Top 10 Local Recommendations. These locations are easily accessible from Downtown (within walking distance or by public transit). The recommendations boast of the unique, international delights that this beautiful sea-to-sky city offers. —The Mgmt.
As fans cheer for their favorite teams (Go Team Canada!), our sweet tooth screams for ice cream!
We Vancouverites are blessed with world-class pastries and cakes in our own backyard. Moreover, the diverse cultures here introduced a variety of traditional and innovative desserts that we now call our own.
Treat yourself to some of the finest and funnest desserts in Vancouver. Here are our top 10 sweet indulgences.
1. Thomas Haas: Dessert lovers used to trek out to North Vancouver for a taste of this award-winning pastry chef's masterpieces. Luckily for you, he recently opened a centralized location to satisfy your desires. Have a piece (or three) of his indulgent pastries and take some chocolates home as souvenirs. Kitsilano, 2539 West Broadway Avenue; thomashaas.com
2. Ganache Patisserie: Dessert connoisseurs are granted an interlude in Paris at Yaletown's best patisserie. The pastry chefs skillfully combine unexpected flavors with traditional French technique to create artistic treats such as the Blanc Fraisier (passion fruit and white chocolate black pepper mousseline) and Guava Exotique (strawberry guava mousse, lychees, and pineapple financier sponge). Yaletown, 1262 Homer St.; ganacheyaletown.com
3. Chicco: My eyes lit up at every delicate dessert I saw whilst in Tokyo. Back home, I was relieved to discover this petite shop that specializes in Japanese interpretations of cheesecake, tiramisu, Mont Blanc, and more. Life's sweeter with a hit of matcha and azuki beans. 1504 Robson St.; chiccocafe.com
4. Beard Papa's Cream Puffs: If this popular Japanese cream puff chain isn't in your hometown yet, be sure to try it while you're here. I'm talking about choux pastry the size of your fist, piped with a fluffy custard in mango, green tea, and other lip-smacking flavors. 548 Robson Street, 1184 Denman St.; beardpapascanada.com
5. La Casa Gelato: Before Martha Stewart gave this place the thumbs up, this gelateria was our city's best kept secret. With 218 flavors to try and choose from, this is truly an ice-cream lover's paradise. Children (okay, and grown-ups) love to challenge each other to try bizarre flavors such as wasabi, curry, and balsamic vinegar. My heart flutters at their vast selection of tropical flavors including durian, jackfruit, and coconut-red rice. Strathcona, 1033 Venables St.; lacasagelato.com
6. Qoola Frozen Yogurt + Fruit: Frogurt was all the craze in the recent years. Worthy trends will stick around, like this yogurt and waffle shop located by the beach. Qoola is set apart by their fresh, never frozen fruit and rotating yogurt flavors. Bonus points: certified 100% active cultures and eco-friendly products. 1116 Denman St.; qoola.com
7. Cheesecake Etc.: The humble cheesecake takes center stage in this buzzing spot just off the Granville St. Bridge. Its uniqueness lies in the texture: It is so fluffy and velvety that it is hard to believe the cheesecakes are baked. Served very chilled, this crustless cheesecake draws enough business to spill over to the location next door. Don't hold back on the strawberry sauce and whipped cream. 2141 Granville St.; cheesecakeetc.com
8. Sweet Revenge Patisserie: This intimate dessert café glows dimly amidst the bright Main Street lights. Step inside to a quaint and thoughtfully decorated room filled with music from the '20s. From their berry parfait to the chocolate pudding cake, each dessert is prepared in-house with care. Must try: the Smooth Operator (chocolate sponge, marscapone cheese, raspberries, white chocolate shavings, raspberry coulis). 4160 Main St.; sweet-revenge.ca
9. Frappé Bliss: This Taiwanese specialty dessert merits a trip to Aberdeen Centre, Richmond on the Canada Line. Widely popular in Asia, this frosty dessert consists of "feathery" shaved ice, topped with an array of sauces, fruit, tapioca pearls, mochi, and more. The well-loved peanut shaved ice has a round, savory flavor, or try the yogurt shaved ice as a lighter option. Richmond, 4151 Hazelbridge Way; frappebliss.com
10. True Confections: If you're craving a massive, fully-loaded slab of cake, then this popular joint is your best bet. Children's eyes will light up at the sight of the multi-layered cakes that tower over their heads. This bustling joint is open till 1 a.m. on weekends to satisfy your late-night cravings. Westend, 866 Denman St.; trueconfections.ca