Each week, Atlanta Eats brings you an inside look at the Atlanta restaurant scene. Today, we asked our friend Jenn Hobby to give us the scoop on desserts around town. Jenn is a mom-to-be, so the cravings are definitely taking over! Catch our show every Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 on Peachtree TV. You can catch Jenn making her Atlanta Eats debut soon!
Expectant moms and sweet tooth enthusiasts unite when it comes to a sugar fix; the craving strikes and we must to have it immediately. Pregnant women often prefer a sweet over salty, according to studies from the University of Minnesota and surveys at Babycenter.com. At 15 weeks along in my second pregnancy, I concur. Blame our hormonal changes or our laissez-faire attitude about calorie intake; moms-to-be are nonetheless ready for serious sugar-coated consumption.
As I watch my tummy grow into a new baby-basketball, I’ve built a strong list of go-to Atlanta sweets. (The old “pickles and ice cream” cliche can only take me so far.) I remedy the sugar urge with these local treats:
1. Nothing to me says comfort food quite like old fashioned banana pudding. I have fond memories of eating spoonfuls shoulder to shoulder with my Dad, who considers himself a banana pudding connoisseur. We LOVE it; It’s got the smooth texture and the satisfying crunch of a vanilla wafer cookie, plus bananas are good for the growing baby! At least that’s what I tell myself when I chow down on copious amounts at D.B.A. Barbecue in Virginia Highlands. I also hear that Chef Kevin Gillespie has perfected his great-grandmother’s recipe with a meringue top and pound cake slices instead of the traditional vanilla wafers. I’m trying to catch it on the cart at Gunshow in Glenwood Park, but I may just have to attempt it at home. Chef Kevin generously shares the recipe.
2. Sweetened satisfaction comes in the form of snacks on the go. As a pregnant lady, I’ve got a stash in my over-sized handbag at all times. If you have a day of nursery furniture shopping ahead, don’t leave home without a goodie bag of treats from Alon’s Bakery, like lemon squares or oatmeal raisin bites. I love to take along their traditional French almond macarons. They are made with real fruit, nuts and dairy creams, fruit confections or ganache. Alon’s macarons melt in your mouth and are crafted in beautiful pastels to match that baby room.
3. Creme brûlée is my JAM. Pregnant or not, this is my go-to order for dessert. It’s the perfectly light, sweet finish to a gourmet meal. Tapping the crispy caramel topping with my spoon and then scooping into the delicate pool of vanilla custard is my version of bliss. I believe that Canoe has mastered the art form with their Trio of Creme Brûlée with varieties of Meyer lemon, sweet basil and the classic vanilla bean. I am looking forward to watching the Chattahoochee river roll by, propping these ramekins on my growing belly and diving in.
4. There’s an itch that only chocolate can scratch. Atlanta’s best comes from Cacao Atlanta, featuring exquisite origin-driven chocolate and confections in their online shop and in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood store. Cacao was recently named one of the best chocolates in the country. The heavenly choices are endless, so I suggest The Essential Collection for starters. You’ll sample nine flavors in an elegant box of 18 pieces for $40.00. Featuring the best-sellers like Antica Strawberry, Aztec Aphrodisiac, Bourbon Espresso, Cayenne Passion Fruit, Classic Dark, Ginger, Pecan Penuche, Smoked Habanero and Tequila Sea Salt, this makes a fabulous, indulgent gift for Mom-to-be. (Hint, hint.) Lucky for us preggos, Cacao Atlanta has new locations coming soon to Buckhead and Inman Park this year.
5. Let there be CAKE! And lots of it. For celebrations like baby showers, second baby “sprinkles,” or ladies’ only sip-and-see’s, Highland Bakery specialty cakes are the must-have dessert. Their stunning creations are works of art with the most moist, fluffy cake hiding under the beautifully sculpted fondant. For every day delights, I like to stop by the Old Fourth Ward location for a slice of blueberry crumb cake, a cinnamon roll or mini doughnut. Highland Bakery’s owner, Stacey Eames, is a special soul on this planet and you can taste the love she pours into her Mama’s southern comfort food recipes. I’m certain my baby-to-be can too!