This year was filled with so much sweetness it was hard to narrow down a few of the best. I ate cake by the ocean, I devoured my weight in soft serve, I enjoyed new delicious donuts, and so much more. I traveled to new places this year and spent so much time on the road at points it even felt like I was hardly ever home. Along the way I enjoyed some memorable desserts that made 2016 one sweet year!
Here are ten of my favorite confections of the year:
I went to Sydney Australia for the first time this year to visit my good friends that were living there at the time. Beyond what seems like endless beautiful beaches, Sydney has an awesome dessert scene. From my 10 days there it was clear that Sydney was just like me — this city had a major sweet tooth! They have artisan ice cream, nouveau soft serve, elevated lamingtons, pastries galore, and tons of doughnuts. Doughnut Time not only makes small batch, hand-dipped doughnuts, they also have an array of douhgnut shakes. Why have just a doughnut when you can have a milkshake too!
I know Sidecar Doughnuts opened in LA at the end of last year, but having it even closer than before has been a game changer this year. Now what used to be an occasional special treat has become a monthly pilgramage. I still love their classics like butter salt, but I come in monthly to check out their specials. Sidecar remains my favorite doughnut in the U.S.!
Being a native Angeleno I have been to Univeral Studios more times than I can count. It has been fun seeing how it has evolved and how the rides and space have changed. This year I got myself an annual pass because: it’s an easy trip to get there, Harry Potter (duh!), and so that I can make donut runs. Yes, I’m not even kidding about the donut run thing. In the Simpsons area of the park there are so many fun themed treats, my favorite of which is Lard Lad Donuts. Despite it being amusement park food, these donuts are legit. They come in regular sized and extra large, the later of which is like a big cake with tons of frosting. For added indulgence walk across the way to Phineas Q. Butterfat’s Ice Cream Parlor and you can get a donut sundae!
I have a confession to make, I’m not a huge chocolate lover. I’m super picky about it and it’s not often my first choice when ordering dessert. With that said, the chocolate treats aboard Princess Cruises may have changed my chocolate views. In partnership with Norman Love, Princess Cruises offers an exclusive Chocolate Journeys program available onboard fleetwide. There are different chocolate treats at various dining spots on board like this soft serve (which was limitless I may add). My favorites were the select artfully designed deserts available after dinner. This fun and unique offering was one sweet perk of cruising with Princess.
I visited Scottsdale this Fall to explore their culinary scene. I did not know what to expect having only passed through the Phoenix area in the past. Not only is this city gorgeous, it is bursting with delicious food. From farmers market sweets stalls to fine dining restaurants to holel dining, this is a city that likes to eat. I enjoyed checking out the local flavor from chocolateirs, olive oil producers that make sweets too, heritage grain farmers, bakeshops, and one of the best ice cream shops – Sweet Republic. They have been in the game since 2008 churning artisan ice cream with milk from local dairies in classic and unique flavors. It was so hard to choose, but I opted for a Toffee Banofi sundae. Go big or go home right?
While in the Valle de Guadalupe in Baja California this October our group enjoyed what for me was one of the best meals I enjoyed this year. It was at Traslomitas, the restaurant attached to the Lomita Winery. I’ve been to the Valle a few times in the past, but somehow each visit I missed Lomita. For what seems like a relatively small place there is seems to be so much to eat and drink. If you make a trip to the Valle de Guadalupe make sure this is on your list and make a reservation at Traslomita. The cooking her is phenomenal set right outdoors next to the winery. And while it may be difficult, save room for dessert because the treats here are GOOD! Pictured dulce de leche banana pudding with fresh whipped cream and toasted pistachios it was gone in 30 secs it was perfection.
A little over a year ago I took a flight up to San Franscisco for the day because I wanted to try Mr. Holmes Bakehouse’s famed cruffin that I had been seeing all over Instagram. I’m crazy about my desserts and LA to SF was a short flight. So I take the flight, but I didnt’ get said cruffin becuase they had sold out! So i made my way back to San Francisco this year and finally got a cruffin. They I got a few donuts, a croissant, and a pop tart too. The story doesn’t end there. After getting myself back to San Francisco and finally getting that cruffin, Mr.Holmes Bakehouse opened a location in Highland Park a mere 25 minutes away from me just a month later. So I didn’t need to fly back but cest la vie, now I can have Mr. Holmes whenever I please.
Right after my trip to Australia I went on my first ever cruise. It was a Viking Cruise through Provence and the Rhone Valley in France. Lucky for me I was with the best ever travel companions Krista and Aida. Together we ate our way through every market, hall,boulangerie, and patisserie we could find. My favorite of which was Baking Company Avignon. The quaint shop is tucked away down one of the many tiny winding streets in this provencial town. They have pastries, macarons, and merignues here that are perfect on the go while you are exploring the sites.
After that trip to France I was lucky enough to get to explore Spain’s Basque country with my best friends. We started in Bilbao for a few days, got a car and drove along the coast. While I loved each of our stops, Bilbao was my favorite and my favorite sweet find in this city were these outrageously gorgeous Carolinas. Carolinas are typical pastries found northern in Spain, specifically Bilbao. They consist of a tart made of puff pastry or pastry filled with cream or coconut cake, and a generous pompadour of meringue. If you are in Bilbao and seek these out, go to Pasteleria Suiza for the good stuff.
When in Rome, don’t miss Pasticceria Regoli. One of the oldest pastry shops in the city, thier sweets still sell out daily. They are known for their maritozzi, a sweet bun topped with heavy whipped cream, which makes a perfect breakfast with a cappuccino at the counter. Cross over to the take-away side of the shop and you’ll be amazed at the variety of beautiful pastries and cakes.