"My favourite sweet thing to eat in Vancouver has to be our pastry chef Alex Abley’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Crunch, served in the café. It was inspired by my favourite childhood treat and one day I was craving it so much that I asked Alex if he could create it for me.
"The dessert comprises four different layers: a peanut butter financier base, a milk chocolate peanut butter and feuilletine crunch, a layer of peanut butter icing and milk chocolate ganache. Aside from the major nostalgia factor, it has all of my favourite elements in a dessert with the perfect contrast of crunchy and smooth textures and balance of salty and sweet. I’m not even a huge dessert person, but this one really hits the mark for me."
"I know it is just ice cream, but it's oh-so-good. Like the saying goes 'keep it simple.' I love how the ice cream is rich and creamy, but not overly sweet. The hazelnuts give it great texture and it has whiskey. Who doesn't like a little whiskey in their desserts? Every time I drive by, I have to grab a jar, not just two scoops."
"I love having Chau Veggie in my neighbourhood not only for their delicious soups and noodles, but also dessert. This dessert is absolutely perfection in flavour and texture. The banana flavour is delicious and complements the coconut sauce really well. And the gluten-free crust is an added bonus for celiacs."
"The almond croissant at Beaucoup Bakery is one of my favourite sweet treats. I appreciate the simple combination of flavours of the raw ingredients: sugar, butter and roasted almond. Often, I find almond croissants too sweet but when done well, it's my favourite pastry. The ones at Beaucoup are the best I've had. It's one of the only things I consistently make a point of going to pick up when I'm home in Vancouver. I really like desserts that go well with coffee and these are perfect. Also, croissants are a lot of work in the first place, so it's nice to appreciate them the next day reworked to be even be better than the day they were baked."
"My favourite sweet bite? Vanilla! In particular, cheesecake! There's nothing sexier than seeing vanilla flecked through a dessert, especially cheesecake. Maybe it goes back to my childhood birthdays and always getting one from my family, but this is one dessert that I absolutely love. Trees Organic Coffee & Roasting House does an amazing job. Their New York plain cheesecake is creamy, filling and delicious. What more could you want? They do a number of variations of cheesecake, but it's the plain that keeps me coming back. Don't get me started on creme brûlée."
"This is one my favourite tea-infused desserts to create for several reasons. First off, it is delicious and attractive. Our intention is to captivate our guests with a touch of French cuisine flare. The infusion of the fine Matcha Nara balances the sweetness in the dessert with various complementary flavours quite well. The presentation is beautiful and combines attractive and vibrant colours to complete the overall experience."
"I’m really loving one of the latest dessert creations from our talented pastry chef, Jason Pitschke. His dark chocolate yuzu dome with yuzu, black sesame and crème Anglaise is truly a work of art. A big part of dining out for me is the experience and this dessert is quite the spectacle: the warm crème Anglaise is poured tableside to melt away the dark chocolate dome and reveal the dessert beneath. With a huge wow factor, it's always a hit with guests. Simply delicious."
"This doughnut is out of this world when it comes to creativity. You can't go wrong with the flavour profiles of Parmesan cheese and black pepper, but on a doughnut with honey? Works even more perfectly!"
"Before Farmer's Apprentice opened, I took a sidestep from restaurant kitchens and joined the team at BETA5 to work with [pastry chef/chocolatier] Adam Chandler, which turned out to be one of the most interesting and exciting experiences in my career. I started in pastry and then moved on to chocolate-making. The process and science behind it was fascinating as it takes extensive talent to master the skill. At the time, BETA5 was just starting to get its name out, though they now have an enormous following for their cream puffs, chocolate and the best Kouign-Amann in the city.
"I still try to visit BETA5 as much as I can for their crowd-pleasing cream puffs. I love them all, so I always pick up a random six-pack or leave it in Adam’s hands as he likes to surprise me."
Olive Oil Cake at Ask for Luigi, 305 Alexander Street
"This cake is perfect and will ruin you for all other desserts. Olive oil elevates it from good to great. It gives the cake an aromatic oil-rich middle and a crackling crust paired with a silky whipped ricotta and bright confit oranges. It also inspired us to make our own version at Pidgin restaurant: olive oil cake with spiced plum wine jam."
Looking for the city's sweetest desserts? Vancouver chefs pick their favourite cakes, croissants, cream puffs + more
Grey days, rain clouds and a nip in the air—February is a tough month on the West Coast and we all need a bite of the sweet side of life at this time of year. Fortunately, Vancouver has plenty of delicious sweet treats on offer, and who better to ask what’s good than local chefs?
From cream puffs to booze-spiked ice cream, these sweeties are guaranteed to lift your mood (thanks, elevated blood sugar!). So bye bye February blues, hello sugar rush!
Nikki Bayley is an award-winning travel writer, guide book author and spirits and cocktail journalist whose work appears in National Geographic Traveller, The Globe and Mail and the Difford’s Guide. A cheese fan, hula hooper and all-round word nerd, she writes regularly for BCLiving about food, drink, spas and everything else that makes life worth living.