When you come to Charleston, you’ll doubtlessly be tempted with Southern fare like shrimp and grits, she crab soup, and collard greens, but there are also plenty of places to go that will tempt your sweet tooth.
Here are just a few of our favorite stops along our dessert tour located right here in the Holy City:
Cupcake opened its doors at 433 King Street back in 2006 and have since expanded its delicious empire to Mt Pleasant (644 Long Point Road) and even to Columbia (1213 Lincoln St.). With over 50 flavors of cupcakes to choose from, we understand why these scratch-made wonders have been all the rage for 10 years and counting. Choose from daily staples, like red velvet, vanilla bean, chocoholic, and the black-and-white, or kick things up a notch with their after-dark series of alcohol-infused cupcakes. They also serve gluten-free, vegan, mini, and mega (six-inch cake iced like a giant cupcake) cupcakes, plus cake pops you can buy by the dozen. Some of Cupcake’s seasonal specialities include Chocolate Bomb, Samoa, French Toast, Banana Pudding, Loco for Coco, and Peachy Keen. For the full cupcake calendar (how wonderful is it that this is a thing?), go to freshcupcakes.com.
Christophe Artisan Chocolatier
You don’t know real beauty until you’ve beheld Christophe’s artisan, hand-painted chocolates. Almost too pretty to eat (almost), this choc boutique, located at 90 Society Street, creates luxury chocolates, chocolate sculptures, and fine chocolate truffles. Made from European chocolate, chocolate treat flavors include everything from star anise to cappuccino cheesecake. So who’s Christophe? A third-generation French chocolatier who grew up in his father’s patisserie in Toulouse. Today, he calls Charleston home, and this city is all the more beautiful for it.
Carmella’s Cafe and Dessert Bar arrived at 198 East Bay St. in 2014, and it’s filled with delights good enough to get the downtown spot recognition on HGTV and the Cooking Channel. This Charleston treasure serves up dessert cocktails — Chambord margarita anyone? — and sweet eats, like banana foster’s pie, pistachio tarts, cannolis, and gourmet dark chocolate almond brownies. But they’re also known for their delicious organic coffee and savory delights, like cheeseboards and Carmella’s Meatball Sandwich. And if you’re lucky, you may find eggnog mousse on the menu come December!
From cupcakes and tarts to cookies, cakes, and pies, Sugar Bakeshop is full of sweetness. The adorable little shop is situated at 59 1/2 Cannon Street, and they serve sugary delights both in-house and made-to-order. For example, year-round, you’ll reliably find cupcake flavors like vanilla blueberry, lemon curd, almond chocolate coconut, caramel, and lime curd, while seasonal finds include peanut butter (June-October), Strawberry (June-August), Honey (April-November), and Pistachio (February-May, Oct-Nov.). Our favorite? We recommend the buttermilk tart any and every day of the year.
The Ultimate Coconut Cake at Peninsula Grill
This delectable dessert is renowned for several things: impeccable fine-dining service, fat wine glasses full of amazing juice, first-class food, and … their Ultimate Coconut Cake. Yes, this cake is so dee-lish they had to trademark that name, and publications like Martha Stewart Living, the New York Times, and Vogue had to gush over it in print. It debuted on Valentine’s Day, 1997 and has since become a sensation that Bobby Flay called his “all-time favorite dessert.” For real. The Grill serves it by the slice every night to its guests and can also ship whole cakes overnight
What Charleston dessert are you craving now?