The sweet tooth's treasure map; a top collection of local bakeries, gelaterias, chocolatiers, and crêperies scattered across the Mother City.
As someone who has tried a scoop of ice cream wherever and whenever possible, I can happily say that Moro Gelato has the best gelato in South Africa. After dragging anyone who was willing to spoon (gelato) with me, it didn’t take long for this parlor to become a regular destination. From top quality ingredients and preparation, to branding and the parlor itself, it's clear that Moro Gelato's is a product of love with impeccable attention to detail! Some of the all-time favorites include pistachio, halva, tiramisu and marchese, while fig, chocolate, granadilla and hazelnut are some of the top sorbetti options.
📍: Long Street | Green Point | Sea Point
For any of the adventurous artisans and experimental eaters, this is your oasis. From beetroot, chocolate, ginger (yes, that’s one flavour), to white chocolate lemon-infused olive oil (another culinary concoction), Unframed provides the perfect opportunity to have fun with your tastebuds. For all the normal nellies with the more traditional tastes, fret not, classic flavors are also on offer. According to Big7 Travel, this local artisanal ice cream parlor is #1 in the world. It is safe to say that across the dairy, vegan and sorbet varieties, their ice cream always has the most impeccable texture.
🥇: Blue Coconut
📍: Kloof Street | V&A | Woodstock etc.
This family-run franchise truly understands their cliental. With a wide variety of flavors, they are able cater to any fussy eater or picky person, an outcome the whole family can enjoy! Although offering vegan treats is a standard in Cape Town, Gelato Mania offers sugar-free alternatives for diabetics, allowing anyone to indulge. Their signature scoop, however, is the Pino Penguino; a hazelnut gelato topped with decadent nutella. This flavor is also sold in retail stores across the province, allowing you to satisfy your craving from home.
🥇: Pino Penguino
📍: Kloof | Green Point | Sea Point | Newlands | V&A etc.
'Traditional with a trendy twist’ is how I would describe this soft-serve swirling parlor. While you can order the ‘plain jane’ cone with whatever toppings you desire, you can try one of the grander concoctions. Feel like something with a crunch? Try the ice cream tacos. For something a bit more hands-on, give the donut sandwich (with a soft-serve filling) a bite. Or go for the ultimate: the Belter, simply described as soft-serve + donut + sugar-cone. This colorful store and its staff are full of energy and make your sugar extravaganza even sweeter!
🥇: The Belter
📍: Sea Point
You know all those instagram videos of donuts being ripped apart: custard pouring, chocolate dripping, salvia drooling kind of material? This is the set for those kinds of sugar-saturated shots. Their donuts are next level; with their signature flavors and seasonal features, there is no shortage of choice. Even if you feel like a kid in a candy store, their creative chocolates give the illusion of being in a gallery, proving that food is a work of art. You can even personalize a box of chocolates as a sweet gesture.
🥇: Creme Brûlée Donut | Malakoff Chocolate Square
📍: Sea Point
For something cute, cosy and full of cocoa, Honest Chocolate is a city-center gem. The outdoor court-yard also provides an outside space for you to enjoy your treats in some sunshine. While you may have seen their dark chocolate bars in store counters, the cafe offers so much more: there’s baked goods, bonbons and beverages, offering a variety of choice for your indulgence. However, as the sign on the entrance says, ‘don't be afraid of the dark’. Give the richer cocoa treats a try and enjoy the authentic taste of Honest Chocolate.
🥇: Vegan Banana Bread Bunny Chow
📍: Wale Street, CBD
TGF offers indulgence and decadency, with a healthy conscience. All their treats are gluten- and (refined) sugar-free, with a large portion of vegan products too, making it a popular Capetonian choice. While TGF doesn’t have their own cafe (yet?), their products can be found at the Oranjezicht City Farm Market every weekend, as well as in many cafes around the city. From occasion cakes, to chocolate bars and biscuits, TGF is exemplar of how to integrate a healthy attitude towards food, your body and the environment.
🥇: Millionaire Shortbread
📍: Oranjezicht City Farm Market, V&A
This nook specializes in NY deli food and hand-rolled donuts. The latter is a laborious process of love, each donut requires 18 hours of curation. Pina colada, peanut cream pie, almond and vanilla maple glaze, Cinnamon walnut cake - you name it, they’ve made it into a donut. Apart from their ever-changing and innovative flavors, this kitchen tries to make everything themselves. From butter, cheese, vegan deli meats and even mayonnaise, they embody “ethical indulgence”.
🥇: Any new donut flavor!
📍: Dunkley Square, Gardens
A corner cafe and crêperie located just outside the city, transports you and your tastebuds to Paris. There is no shortage of sweet choice: chocolatiers can have a Ferrero Rocher-caramel-Nutella affair, or try the cinnamon and white wine poached pear, with toasted almonds and ice cream option. Despite the amount of sugary selections, for those wanting a more salty dish, there is a plethora of savory options too. These are served on a buckwheat-based galette, also accommodating any gluten intolerances.
🥇: Jack & Jo Crepe
Known for the creation of the doughssant; a hybrid between a donut and croissant, Jason’s Bakery is famous for its freshly baked goods with a creative twist. As if the deep-fried croissant dough wasn’t a feat of its own, the bakery has never repeated a flavor since its inception in 2013, making each batch completely unique. While these creations are only available on a Saturday, their cafe always has a selection of top-quality breads and pastries as the phrase “bake today for today” is wholeheartedly embraced.
📍: Green Point
This year, Charly’s celebrates 25 years of “Mucking Afazing” cakes and creations. Colour, glitter and a whole wonderland of decadency doesn’t even begin to describe the Willy Wonka-esque spot. Inspired by German baking, a family-run bakery evolved into the institution it is today. Best known for their (Sacher Torte inspired) dense chocolate cakes, as well as their reality TV series, Charly's Cake Angels, this bakery is a must-try for any Capetonian.
🥇: Chocolate Cupcake