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The Best Desserts in Philadelphia, PA

Five of the sweetest finds in the city of brotherly love

By Kelsey Robertson on June 22, 2015

Philadelphia, Penn. – the state’s largest city – received more than 30 million visitors in 2014. Dense with national history, such as the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, many also flock to the city for its famous dining scene, notably the city’s staple sandwich: the Philly Cheesesteak. Before filling up on this world-renowned meat-and-cheese delicacy, save room for some of Philadelphia’s most revered sweets, loved by visitors and locals alike. We’ve taken the liberty of compiling five of Philadelphia’s sweetest offerings, in no particular order:

Butterscotch Bourbon Pie 

Pies are something that Magpie founder and owner, Holly Riccardi, describes as a family tradition, and that genetic expertise is apparent in Magpie’s butterscotch bourbon pie. Based on her grandmother’s recipe, Riccardi makes the pie with custard and Jim Bean, and the pie has delighted locals and world travelers alike. After being open for a few short years, the South Street bake shop has demanded a lot of attention from Condé Nast Traveler toTravel + Leisure magazine.

Hot Chocolate Cookie Dough at Ela 

Diners at Ela can expect a fine-dining experience at the hands of rising chef, Jason Cichonski, and his hot chocolate cookie dough is no exception (and not to mention, you finally get to indulge in cookie dough without the guilt). Cichonski serves the favorite with vanilla-bean ice cream and cookie crackers. The dessert, although it has taken many forms over the years, consistently receives applause of critics and Ela visitors.

Cannolis at Termini Brothers 

In a region that has numerous renditions of the traditional Italian pastry, many claim that Termini Brothers is the place to go to in Philadelphia. The Sicilian-rooted bakery handcrafts each cannoli – totaling around 800,000-900,000 a year – with a filling of vanilla cream, chocolate cream or Ricotta cheese with chocolate chips and citron. Not near south 8th Street in Philadelphia? You’re in luck; the Philly bakery delivers to all 50 states.

Salted Caramel Budino at Barbuzzo

For a dessert of few elements, Barbuzzo’s Salted Caramel Budino has created quite a frenzy from South 13th Street in Philadelphia. Barbuzzo chef and Salted Caramel Budino creator, Marcie Turney, simply layers dark chocolate crust, vanilla bean caramel pudding, and serves it with crème fraîche and sea salt in a mason jar. The budino has gained so much favorable attention that Turney created a salted caramel budino donut that was available for a limited time. On top of that, Epicurious and Bon Apetit made their own renditions of what is debatably Barbuzzo’s most-ordered dish. 

Volcano Cake at RIM Cafe

If one talks about Philadelphia desserts, RIM Cafe’s “volcano” hot chocolate is a must. Located in south Philadelphia near the Italian market, chocolate mastermind Rene Kobeitri combines steaming handcrafted chocolate with ice-cold cream, creating an overflowing culinary combustion of science experiment proportions. The Philadelphia favorite comes in a variety of options, including the Dirty Volcano – fire-roasted espresso concoction – to the Lava Ganache, made with rich dark chocolate. Each bubbling volcano hot chocolate is whipped up right in front of your eyes on a rotating granite slab. 

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