Icing on the cake: Where to find the best sweet treats in Auckland
Without sugarcoating it, Auckland has us well covered when it comes to sweet treats. The city is popping at the seams with culinary wonders, so it should really come as no surprise that sweet tooths can easily embark on a journey of indulgence, tantalising even the most discerning of taste buds. Whether it be to neighbourhoods with quaint corner bakeries or to institutions with queues a mile long, sweet enthusiasts won’t have to search too hard for their perfect piece of sugar-coated paradise.
Words by: Nicole Mudgway
The city has a diverse gastronomic influence, leading to a mouthwatering array of edible masterpieces on offer. From the humble chocolate chip cookie to a classic New York cheesecake, velvety gelato and pastries that look like they’ve been flown in straight from Paris, there really is something for every person, every occasion and - let’s be honest - for any time of day. Even if you want to take a step back and simply watch the magic being made, Auckland’s skilful artisans can take the most basic ingredients and transform them into desserts too pretty to eat.
This list offers a condensed sample of some of Auckland’s culinary delights, sure to tickle the sweet tooths and leave everyone yearning for more.
Little & Friday
Ponsonby and Newmarket
One of Auckland’s most beloved bakeries, Little & Friday is something of an institution. Since 2007, when it first opened in Belmont, Little & Friday has had its fair share of moves, shakes and changes, but has ultimately come out on top. It’s a popular destination for that mid-morning dose of coffee, but the real reason the fans come a-flocking is for their baked goods - from cinnamon scrolls and date scones to jam donuts and hazelnut tarts, there is something to tempt everyone. There are also plenty of filled roll and quiche options for those thinking ahead to lunch.
66 - 68, Tyler Street, Britomart Place
Saving one of the best till last, Amano Bakery may be in the heart of the city, but it’s not just a destination popular with city-dwellers. Every day of the week, you can expect a queue, whether it’s for a freshly brewed coffee, a loaf of still-warm sourdough or one of their many scrumptious pastries, tarts or slices. There is an emphasis on sustainable, seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, translating to quality food. The almond croissant is certainly something to write home about, and their iconic ciabatta, sourdough and miche loaves - while worth writing about - are something to take home with you. If they last that long!
Morningside, Ponsonby and Britomart
Humble wee Morningside is actually home to an increasing number of the city’s favourite eateries, and Miann Chocolate Factory only adds to this quality lineup. As a bean-to-bar (to dessert) chocolate maker, Miann takes pride in sourcing their cacao beans directly from small farmers across the world, ensuring ethical and sustainable practices every step of the way. The chocolate is then turned into decadent desserts, gelatos, cakes and macarons before being distributed to its stores in both Ponsonby and Britomart. Mind you, a number of goodies remain at the factory so visitors can enjoy the exclusive offering on site of a six-course dessert tasting menu.
Ponsonby, Newmarket and Takapuna
Small batch ice creamery Duck Island is something of a playground for flavour experimentation; they are constantly making magic using locally grown, seasonal produce. The sky's the limit when it comes to innovative flavours - think fairy bread, blueberry buttermilk gooey butter cake and white chocolate pomegranate macadamia - and rest assured, whatever the flavour, you can guarantee the ingredient is actually in the ice cream. Hailing from Hamilton (but over time expanding to Auckland and Wellington), each new season at Duck Island brings with it new flavours to look forward to. And with exciting products such as ice cream sandwiches, sundaes and ice cream cakes, any reason is worth celebrating with Duck Island’s ice cream.
12 Gore Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland
With a slogan of ‘normal ice cream is boring’, you can expect an extraordinary ice cream experience at Giapo. Pushing the boundaries of creativity since way back when prepare to be wowed with options such as the ‘Colossal Squid’ (an extravagant 3D masterpiece created in honour of Te Papa’s giant squid) or your favourite fancy flavour in a ‘Selfie Cone’ for that perfect Instagram shot. Decadently sweet and definitely memorable, Giapo is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
La Petite Fourchette
Wynyard Quarter and Britomart
Like something straight out of France, La Petite Fourchette translates to ‘the little fork’ - which is the only utensil you need when you visit either of these polished pâtisseries, both located in central Auckland. Both are open every day, and the early birds can follow their noses to the smell of freshly baked (correction, baking) croissants, cakes and pastries. It’s not just the sweet tooths that will be tempted, there are also freshly made quiches, sandwiches and salads to see you through your day. And if you’re stuck for your next birthday party, work lunch or celebration, La Petite Fourchette also offers catering options.
1/7 Windsor Street, Parnell
Nothing rounds out a visit to Parnell like a flaky, buttery croissant or an exquisitely presented tart, choux or cake. Vaniyé is here to satisfy the strongest of pastry desires, and with owner-operator Sonia’s more than capable hands and skills (she trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris!), visitors can choose to know that whatever they select, it will inevitably be mouth-wateringly delicious. While there are always seasonal additions, it really is hard to go past the classic butter croissants and their traditionally made macarons with tantalising flavours such as salted caramel, passionfruit, and dark Valrhona chocolate.
Moustache Milk and Cookie Bar
Remuera and Manukau
It’s hard to beat a freshly baked cookie, especially when it comes with a glass of milk on the side. At Moustache Milk and Cookie Bar, only the best quality ingredients are used to mix up these humble delights, including free-range eggs, real NZ butter, premium Dutch cocoa and plenty of Whittaker’s chocolate. Homegrown, Moustache started as a food truck out of Wellington and has, over time, expanded to having two stores in Auckland. While there is an abundance of goodies available for ordering online, there’s nothing quite like visiting in-store to inhale the homemade aromas and view the expansive selection of cookies and cookie pies (yes, you read right!) to choose from. If a glass of milk isn’t your thing, pair your cookie(s) with one of the many indulgent flavours of shake: think Bischoff, cookie dough, and Nutella, to name just a few.
292 Karangahape Road
Atelier is a trendy French-influenced cocktail-come-wine bar on K Road. In France, an atelier is a workshop where artists work their magic, and while everyone might know about the extensive wine list and bread-and-butter menu, some of the lesser-known magic made is the dessert options. Truly French-inspired, there are usually three options, and each is executed as delicately and cleverly as the next. The real winner (and one of Atelier’s signature dishes) is the mille-feuille, with silky chantilly cream, wafer-thin pastry and incredibly moreish salted butter caramel. Open until late, Atelier offers ambience, intimacy and a strong dessert game.
375 Karangahape Road
One of Karangahape Road’s most popular restaurants is Cotto, and for good reason. It’s reasonably priced, offers soul-warming food and contemporary drinks and has an ambience often aspired to. Your efforts in nabbing a table are rewarded with a divine Italian menu primed for sharing with your pals. Don’t miss the spinach and goat cheese dumplings, a constant staple on a seasonally changing menu. Thankfully we all have a second stomach specifically for dessert - the lineup of panna cotta, sorbets, Affogato, gelato, and the latest (innovative) take on tiramisu sure is hard to miss. Squeeze in an after-dinner cocktail along the lines of a Frangelico Sour or Tiramisu Martini.
86 Federal Street, Auckland City
There’s nothing like an old-school American diner to indulge a sweet tooth, especially when the offerings include New York-style cheesecake and a classic piece of pie. If pie has you weak at the knees, you’ll find it hard to resist the options on offer here: pecan pie, banoffee pie and peanut butter pretzel pie - fortunately, there is a menu option to combine all three! Fondly known as ‘the Fed’, it is Al Brown’s take on an old-school NYC Jewish delicatessen. With an all-day menu that is distinctively American (think pastrami, poutine and pie), the retro employee outfits and interior fit-out only add to the vibe.
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