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Favorite desserts from your travels?

What are some of the desserts that standout from vacations you've taken? Today I was thinking about an outstanding cheesecake brûlée I had at Le Café du Monde in Quebec City. I have never seen this item on any other menu. Have you?

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  1. (don't know if it counts as dessert)

    but as Arola's Gastro restaurant in Madrid, they served small churros with chocolate at the end of the meal; it was just a perfect ending to a perfect meal.

    1. Polverones in Spain during the holiday season. So simple and so good (nuts, sugar, lard, usually some cinnamon or lemon), but they don't travel well at all.

        1. Bread pudding souffle at Commanders Palace, New Orleans.

          1. Flambeed caramel crepes in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

            1. The desserts at night in Thailand where you select a few things among the 25 or so coloful stuff ranging from sweet beans to jellied stuff to nattos to ...

              1 Reply
              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                Singapore has similar desserts, which I could eat until I burst. Various sweet gelatinous bits over shaved ice with yet more tooth achingly sweet syrup poured over.

                Japanese sweets to be served with tea. I know they are small and to be savored individually, but I could eat a whole boxful even knowing that I'd have sugar-nausea afterwards.

                Grandma's Christmas cookies. Our family tradition calls for making between 15 and 20 varieties each year. Everyone has their favorite variety but the whole experience does it for me.

              2. A napoleon from a farmers market outside of Paris. Stop in your tracks amazing.

                1. almond tart in Bayeux, France

                  1. - fresh custard apple (or soursop?) and mangosteen in singapore
                    - green tea mousse from a pastry shop near the emporor's palace in tokyo, the name of which i never found out (characters were not in kanji, the only japanese script i can nominally read)

                    1. Any tortes in the better coffee houses of Vienna. The pecan cake (more pecans, less cake) in the original El Naranjo in Oaxaca. Mango sticky rice with really great mangos in Bangkok. Vij's rice pudding in Vancouver. Tanzanian mangos--the best flavored I've ever had, even though you could have flossed your teeth with them. Eis kachang (I know that spelling isn't right) in Indonesia. Banana murtabak in Malaysia. (Does anyone sell really good Singaporean/malaysian style murtabak in this country? savory or sweet?) Pineapple tamales in Oaxaca.

                      1. I was in Italy a couple of years ago in wild strawberry season, and had wild strawberries with lemon juice and sugar. So simple and so delicious!

                        1. "Ekmek" = custard and whipped cream atop apparently syrup-drenched toast

                          Had it on Mykonos 20 years ago at some taverna and have NEVER found it anywhere else again. Ekmek means bread in Turkish, so asking around in both Turkey and Greece did not result in getting this dessert again. As simple as it sounds, it was absolutely delish.

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: linguafood

                            hmm, it might help to ask for ekmek kadayıfı, as it's called in turkish. if not, recipes for it aren't too difficult!

                            1. re: linguafood


                              It sounds like ekmek kadayifi, and even though I've never made it at home, I don't think it is too hard to make. It tastes even better if the syrup is made with morello cherry juice.

                              1. re: emerilcantcook

                                Morello cherry juice in Germany--yum! Schattenmorellen (I know it's spelled incorrectly) were so good. YUM!

                                1. re: Caralien

                                  Nope, spelled it just fine.

                                  The wiki link image looks much different from what I had, but it's probably similar.

                              2. re: linguafood

                                linguafood, the base for ekmek kataifi is usually shredded filo pastry (kataifi) Here's a recipe for ekmek kataifi : http://www.greek-recipe.com/modules.p...

                                1. re: phoenikia

                                  Thank you, phoenikia! I have seen the version you linked to, but never recognized it as the ekmek I had on Mykonos. Perhaps it was the laziness of the taverna owners to just use toast soaked in syrup. In any event, the toppings (custard & cream) were what really *made* the dish, so I appreciate the link very much!

                                  Now I can compare our yuvetsi recipe with the one online '-)

                                  evgaristo polí!

                                  1. re: linguafood

                                    para kalo!
                                    Greek cooks can be very resourceful;)

                                  2. re: phoenikia

                                    The word "kadayıf" (in Turkish) often does refer to tel (= 'wire') kadayıf, the shredded pastry. But it is also the name of different kinds of syrup-soaked desserts: ekmek (= 'bread') kadayıfı is, as its name suggests, made from a special kind of bread, and yassı (= 'flat') kadayıf is a kind of deep-fried pancake.

                                2. Baklava from the Old City, Jerusalem.

                                  1. In Germany:
                                    -- Frankfurter Kranz kuchen, a dense butter cake with butter cream frosting. All was butter and little sugar. My landlady made it for me.
                                    -- A plain hazelnut torte, again, not very sweet with strong hazelnut flavor. With whipped cream, of course.

                                    In Slovenia
                                    -- Cremeschnitte - a layered cream cake. The top and bottom both have a crunchy, waferlike, buttery layer. It's hard to describe. The best is at the cafe across from the Park Hotel in Bled.
                                    -- Gibanica - the best found west of Maribor. It's like a 3 layered strudel. The layers are usually poppyseed, apple, and sweet cheese. Sometimes there's a layer of walnuts.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: shoo bee doo

                                      Here's a link to Predmurske Gibanica, which is different from a Serbian Gibanica.


                                      1. re: shoo bee doo

                                        Here's a link to the exact cremeschnitte except I don't remember there being so much powdered sugar on top.


                                      2. Tartufo affogato in Rome. I'd never heard of it before my first trip to Italy—bitter/sweet, hot/cold, brilliant/brilliant.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: tatamagouche

                                          Yes, what a wonderful dish! I haven't had it in Italy but my favorite version was at Primo in Orlando, Florida -- totally beating out the versions I've had in my hometown. I would love to try it in Italy one day.

                                          Aside from the affogato, I would have to say macarons from Pierre Herme in Paris, mangosteens in Thailand, espresso granita from Zuni Cafe in San Francisco and a white nectarine from the farmer's market at the Ferry Building in San Francisco in July (have had it other months -- not the same).

                                        2. Every pastry I tried in Austria. I wish they had more high-end tortes in NYC.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: Lucia

                                            Have you tried Cafe Sabarsky?

                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                              Yes, and love it, but I don't get up to that area very often. I'm going to try Demel this weekend (or at least I'm aiming to), despite the mixed reviews.

                                              1. re: Lucia

                                                Hi Lucia,

                                                Please report back on Demel. I am planning to bring my mother (who is flying in from Asia this week) to Demel for desserts. Would love to hear your feedback!

                                                Thanks in advance!

                                                1. re: kobetobiko

                                                  Ended up being too lazy and cold to venture out last weekend--I'm a bad chowhound. Please report back if you and your mom go.

                                          2. Pasteis de Belem in Lisbon

                                            1. - Mont Blanc at an Alsatian restaurant in Paris
                                              - Crepes with Grand Marnier, dark chocolate sauce and chantilly in La Londe les Maures, France much better than any other crepe I've eaten
                                              - Limoncello Gelato in Rome

                                              1. Poncki in Warsaw. Like a doughnut only 20 times better.

                                                1. Arabian Gulf: I love gemaat/luqemaat drizzled in date honey.

                                                  South Asia: real gulab jamun, not made from milk powder but made from boiled down milk solids, especially Punjabi style.

                                                  East Asia: Filipino: Halo halo, Southern Chinese/yum cha desserts: glutinous rice flour balls stuffed with either crushed (sometimes black) sesame, sometimes yellow/red bean paste, either deep fried and covered in sesame, or steamed and rolled in coconut.

                                                  1. sorry about the last minute duh, but banana-Nutella crepes anywhere in Paris

                                                    1. San bu San(three no stick) a custard made with egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch eaten with chop sticks at the Old Beijing noodle restaurant. I have never found a reference anywhere.

                                                      Chapurrado, Mexicali.

                                                      1. Mochi... I got hooked in Tokyo. I had at least one sweetie each day. We were in Japan for two weeks, so the lady at our neighbourhood sweet shop became accustomed to me... I was this big, blonde Beaker who would point at her pastry case and "meep, meep, meep" until she figured out which sweetie I wanted that day. Mr. Rabbit even wrote out a Japanese sentence in phonetics so I could tell her how much I loved her mochi on the last day of our trip. Oh, mochi... just can't find the real deal in Toronto.

                                                        1. Gelato affogato - Vanilla ice cream with warm espresso poured over it, at a pizzeria in Turin, Italy. I was miserable, I'd just moved halfway across the world, I didn't know anybody, I didn't have a place to live... this made it all better!

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Jetgirly

                                                            A lovely bowl of raspberries in Venice; sahlab in the Old City of Jerusalem; Tartufo in Rome, Piaza Navona I think - oh, and chocolate pudding with fresh whipped cream, a homey treat in wintery Budapest after having spent many months in Africa.

                                                          2. Years ago in Nice, France, outside of the airport we went to a Bar called Memphis; it had an Elvis jukebox and and an Elvis themed pinball machine.

                                                            We ordered two desserts, one of which we ate and the other we left. The chef came out and wondered what was wrong. Nothing at all: we loved the second dessert so much that we were saving it for the very end. He was very proud of his simple creation, a cream puff in an orange sauce. He explained to us that he added a little brandy to the sauce, not enough to be able to tell what it was, but just enough to give it that elusive depth. My wife and I remember it to this day.

                                                            1. The chocolate pudding filled doughnut from Marzipan in Jerusalem during Hanukah. Thank goodness those things are only around a month of the year.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: cresyd

                                                                omg. Marzipan rugelach! How could I forget??

                                                                <Hangs head in shame.>

                                                                1. re: chloe103

                                                                  Yes....much like a croissant dripped in extra butter and chocolate. Those evil creatures are available all year round.....

                                                              2. I don't have too much of a sweet tooth but two standouts for me have been:

                                                                -the Pouding Chomeur at Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal (REALLY sweet and rich but good! A little goes a long way.)
                                                                -some vanilla gelato I had in Tuscany two years ago that I've been thinking about ever since. I even got an ice cream maker in the hope I can re-create it!

                                                                1. Kouing Amann in Brittany.
                                                                  Rote Gruetze in Berlin.
                                                                  Marillen Krapfen in Innsbruck.

                                                                  1. Raspberry gelato in Switzerland (not Italy, surprisingly). I can't remember if it was in Lake Luzerne or Lugano...pretty sure it was in one of those cities. I got gelato in quite a few places while I was in Switzerland. Amazing.

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Solstice444

                                                                      Strawberry ice cream in Pont Aven was delicious- actually liked it more than any Italian gelato I've ever had.

                                                                      1. re: phoenikia

                                                                        All this gelato talk has me salivating from way up in Edmonton for the best bloody gelato I have EVER had (including from various places in Italy) which was from a little place in the Fells Point area of Baltimore. I forget the name, but the care and quality in that product....god...could someone PLEASE send me some! I will eat it as a melted pool, I don't care.

                                                                        1. re: foodiesnorth

                                                                          I'm from the Washington/ Baltimore area. What else can you tell me about this place or the gelato you had? What flavor? Do you remember anything about the location? How long ago was it?

                                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                                              That's it! We were there this summer. Thanks for the answer linguafood. So Steve....have some and describe it for us, in detail. :-) We were so impressed with how fresh the product was. Baltimore is officially our favourite US city thus far. The people, the food, the history, everything . If we ever decide to give up Western and Northern Canada...we will be house hunting in that area.

                                                                    2. A meringue-based chestnut mont blanc with whipped cream and candied violet on top, bought at one of the patisseries in the food hall at Shinagawa train station in Tokyo (kittycorner to Ladurée), and eaten on the shinkansen to Kyoto. It was beautifully boxed - and when I opened it, I discovered that the package had a little cardboard corral in one corner that held a small bag of dry ice which kept the dessert in prime condition. What a mindblower!

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                        The packaging is standard practice for even the most ordinary of patisseries in Japan. And I do agree that the mont blanc sweets I've had in Japan rank pretty high on the dessert scale. It has become an obsession in Japan in the past decade or so. Here's a web page with the top mont blanc ranking in Japan. It's based on an internet ordering site, but if you click on any of those pages, you'll get some great close-up graphics (i.e., food porn) since they are there to sell them. Too bad they don't deliver internationally.

                                                                        1. re: E Eto

                                                                          I hadn't realized that about the packaging - it was during my first extended trip to Japan (planning to return in March, I can't wait). Thanks for the link, lusting after a number of the ones shown.

                                                                      2. In Stratford, Ontario, there was this steakhouse called Kreb's, later called Ali Baba. They made a dessert called gypsy pudding. It was moist sponge cake, smothered in warm rum custard and topped with whipped cream and cinnamon. It was insanely good. The restaurant is now defunct, but I see they have a location in Waterloo/Kitchener and offer the same thing. thinking about making a 5 hour drive from Michigan just to get it.

                                                                        Probably the best dessert I ever had though was chocolate mousse from a small restaurant in St. Malo, France. That was about 15 years ago though.

                                                                        More recently, I just went to Sweetberries in Sarasota, Florida and had a frozen custard mixed with fresh peaches, black raspberries and red raspberries. It was simply the best fruit and ice cream pairing i've ever had.

                                                                        1. Another fan of fresh mango and sticky rice with a touch of sweet cream from Thailand. On a hot, sticky summer day in Tokyo, kori ice in a bowl with ice cream and fresh fruit. Guri guri, a sherbet like strawberry or pineapple ice cream only found at Tasaka's in Kahului, Maui. And shave ice from Matsumoto's stand in Haleiwa, on the North Shore of Oahu.

                                                                          1. Durian pancakes in HK, although, it was indeed, not a pancake, they just called it that. It was a piece of fresh Durian (stopping gagging you guys...) in the center of a bed of whip cream, all wrapped with a glutinous rice paper. It's so good! They also have mango and banana too~

                                                                            And of course, their sweet soups (or the awful name of sugar water but that's like calling soups salt water) which was fan-freaking-tastic. I liked the sweet potatoes one the most~ And the tofu flower, which is pieces of really, really soft tofu in a sweet broth.

                                                                            And fresh egg tarts! OMG so good, even the ones in pastry tarts and I hate those one! And the milk ones! They always have them fresh in HK!

                                                                            Oh, and there was this thing at a dim sum restaurant, it's real mango pieces wraped in thin mochi and rolled in coconut flakes, that was divine! The mango was so fresh and I love the chewiness of the mochi.

                                                                            There were quite a few good bakeries in HK as well which had really good cakes. There was a really good mango cheesecake (yes, I will shut up about mangoes soon) it wasn't too sweet, all you can taste is the sweetness from the mango that the pureed in with the cream cheese. Really nice cheese flavor too, stronger than normal cream cheese. It was really good, I'm still thinking about it and this was last summer.

                                                                            And then there are these dragon beard candies which...I don't even know how to explain, it's just soooo good, and I like watching them stretch the sugar thing...

                                                                            Goddamn, I miss HK!

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: AngelSanctuary

                                                                              They have all of these desserts in Manhattan chinatown, except for the dragon beard candies.

                                                                              1. re: kobetobiko

                                                                                Is it anything like pismaniye (Turkish spun-sugar halvah)? If so available at Kalustyan's as well as pretty much any Turkish store.

                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                  It's similar though the texture is a bit different. It's less dense, and shaped in oval. It is with peanuts and sugar inside, not pistaschio.

                                                                              2. re: AngelSanctuary

                                                                                Yes, dragon beard candies. I had those at a chowdown organized by Yimster (he's the man!). The demonstration was by special arrangement just for us, but everyone sent over their kids to look winsome and snarf some candy. The candymaker had the whole restaurant hypnotized.

                                                                              3. Creme de papaya in Brazil. It's papaya, vanilla ice cream and cassis. There are a number of ways to prepare it but the way my husband does is to put the papaya in the blender first and get it partially blended. Then add the ice cream. That then gets poured into (preferably) balloon-shaped wine glasses and the cassis is drizzled generously (is that an oxymoron?) over it. I've read recipes where everything is put in the blender at once. I don't think it would be as good and certainly not as visually appealing. This is actually served as a digestivo. And after a meal like feijoada, creme de papaya sounds light :)

                                                                                1. Black sticky rice in cocoanut milk from Poppie's in Kuta, Bali, Indonesia.

                                                                                  1. I had to report back on my original post. Without even trying, I just found another cheesecake brûlée--this one with raspberry cheesecake--only about 30 minutes from home. Oh, happy day! So, CT Chowhounds, this tasty dessert can be yours at Foster's in New Haven. http://fostersrestaurant.com/menu/des...
                                                                                    Lunch was excellent, too!