If you are looking for a charming spot to enjoy a European pastry with a delightfully rich mocha, this is just that retreat. As one of my personal Houston happy places, the coffee shop/patisserie hybrid is flawless with its luscious croissants, French macarons, proper café au lait and in-house flower shop. That’s right — you can stop in for breakfast and leave with a bouquet of peonies.
Need to pick up an elegant-yet-dazzling gift, or maybe you’d like to just indulge in something sinful for yourself? Let me introduce you to the world of Araya Chocolates. Giving Godiva a run for its money, these local delicacies are tiny little pieces of delectable art. Handcrafted at a “lab” in Katy, Texas, the treats are made using only premium Venezuelan chocolate and ingredients. All of the flavors are complex and unique, and favorites include the tangy passion fruit and key lime, surprising vodka citron, and tasty cinnamon and walnuts. The chocolates are almost too pretty to eat, but you won’t be able to stop yourself once you start nibbling.
This adorable eco-friendly sugar shop tucked in Citycentre offers a variety of housemade delights, like French macarons, cupcakes, cookies, tapioca, coffees, teas and more. Staying as environmentally friendly as possible, Sweet uses ingredients from local farmers, upcycled vintage furniture and recycled shop fixtures. Personal favorites include its scrumptious salted-caramel cupcakes, as well as the red velvet minicakes with a darling little red heart atop the cream cheese frosting.
Need a chocolate fix? This magical place is your one-stop shop for desserts in Houston. Cakes, pie, ice cream, artisan chocolates, the list goes on and on. Whether you just need a slice of Let’s Go Oreo cheesecake with some milk, or a chocolate gift for somebody special, you will find something unexpected in this wonderland. My favorites off of the menu are Uncle Darryl’s Chocolate Cake, the Candylicious Junkyard Pie (a devilish blend of Butterfinger, Snickers, Baby Ruth and 3 Musketeers in white Bavarian mousse) and one of the best Toll House cookie pies. Have somebody furry on your gift list? It also sells carob treats your four-legged friends.
Known around town as the “Sugar Fairy,” owner Rebecca Masson creates imaginative desserts for some of the top restaurants in Houston, including Gravitas and Vic & Anthony’s, though you can find her goodies daily at Revival Market in the Heights. The former Top Chef: Just Desserts contestant is renowned for her famous Fluffernutter cookies, though I’m also a fan of her bacon-chocolate-chip cookies, and the Veruca Salt cupcake is to die for. On top of all of that, the Le Cordon Bleu in Paris graduate could possibly have the best French macarons in the city.
I would be remiss if I didn’t squeeze in a few other sweet gems around Houston. Tiny Boxwoods and Boomtown Coffee have some of the tastiest chocolate chip cookies. Decapos Pastry Cafe in the Heights makes a great lemon icebox pie and key lime pie. You’ll love the clean, mod vibe and heavenly red velvet at Crave Cupcakes. While Sugarbaby’s Cupcake Boutique has sugar-coated décor and fantastic carrot cake; for a dash of local flavor, try its Saint Arnold cupcake infused with Saint Arnold Winter Stout. In the mood for a cake ball? Suzy Beez’s in northwest Houston are addictive. Try the Mexican vanilla and Italian cream. Amy’s Ice Creams is considered one of the finest creameries in town. Crescent City Beignets is amazing, if you’d like a taste of New Orleans. House of Pies is a bit of a dive diner, but it’s also a treasured Houston landmark with an unforgettable bayou goo pie made of sweet cream cheese, vanilla custard and chocolate shavings atop a pecan crust.
Photos Courtesy of Fluff Bake Bar