Sweet Truth: Where to eat Europe’s iconic national desserts

Every city has its own special way to satisfy a sweet tooth. Here’s your guide to the greatest iconic European desserts and where to find them.

 

Crema Catalana, Barcelona

Similar to France’s crème brûlée, crema catalana is a burnt custard typically made with cream, eggs, sugar, milk and vanilla, cinnamon and orange peel. You’ll find it in numerous cafés around Barcelona, but Escribà, located at La Rambla 83, serves one of the best in the city.

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Pączki, Warsaw

Poland’s thick and tasty, deep-fried pączki doughnuts are typically filled with indulgent creams or jams like plum or rose hip. When pączki fever hits (and it will), immediately make your way to the Stara Pączkarnia doughnut shop or the A.Blikle or Cukiernia Pawłowicz bakeries for freshly made exemplars. All are just minutes away from Hotel Indigo Warsaw—Nowy Swiat.

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Ptichye Moloko, St Petersburg

Ptichye moloko, or “bird’s milk” in English, is popular across Eastern Europe. Bakeries, cafés and restaurants across St Petersburg all serve their own version of this classic sweet—a soufflé draped in oozing dark chocolate. Eliseyev Emporium Coffeeshop, about a 20-minute walk from Hotel Indigo St Petersburg—Tchaikovskogo, is famed for whipping up a ptichye moloko to die for.

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Korvapuusti, Helsinki

In Helsinki, everyone with a sweet tooth just loves a ‘slap on the ear’. No, it’s not an odd Nordic ritual but the English translation of korvapuusti, a delicious baked cinnamon roll, sometimes infused with cardamom, and topped with coarse nib or pearl sugar. They’re available in pretty much any Helsinki café you care to visit. Head to Café Succès or Kanniston Leipomo at Annankatu 19, a 5-minute walk from Hotel Indigo Helsinki—Boulevard, for some of the best slapped ears in town.

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Waffles, Antwerp

Antwerp is famed for its diamonds and, more importantly, its waffles. Here you’ll find incredible gourmet waffles freshly made and topped with your choice of syrups, chocolates, ice creams and fruits. Just west of Hotel Indigo Antwerp—City Centre, you’ll find an area filled with waffle establishments, including but not limited to the excellent Bubble Waffle Café, The Smallest Waffle Shop in The World, and a Waffle Factory outlet.

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Tablet Fudge, Edinburgh

Scottish tablet fudge is more brittle and grainy than the softer, classic British fudge, and that’s what it gives its unique character. It’s also incredibly satisfying, crafted with sugar, butter, condensed milk and sometimes whiskey and Drambuie. You’ll find superb examples of tablet fudge at The Fudge House of Edinburgh and Bains Retro Sweets. Or, if you’re in a pinch for a sugar fix, you’ll find it at local newsagents all over the city.

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