After emigrating to Baltimore from Palermo, Italy, Gioacchino Vaccaro wanted to share the pastries of his homeland with his new neighbors. In 1956, he founded his eponymous pastry shop, an establishment that has since expanded to include four locations. The culinary team dishes out cannoli that ensconce homemade ricotta filling, three-tiered rum cake, and crunchy biscotti cookies.
Beyond pastries, the eateries toast paninis and stuff classic mufalato sandwiches with Italian pepper ham, mortadella, and salami. To complement their meals, visitors can sip hand-crafted espresso drinks, such as cappuccinos in traditional “Italiano” style and house style, served with a dollop of whipped cream. For more adult pours, patrons can opt for assorted martinis, beers, and dessert wines.
At You Say When Yogurt, the customer is in control. They first choose their 16- or 12-oz. cup and fill it with any combination of 12 yogurt flavors, which are often inspired by fruits and desserts. The flavor lineup regularly changes, and may include such varieties as New York cheesecake, cotton candy, and no-sugar added coffee, along with seasonal favorites such as pumpkin, a required sacrifice to the Great Pumpkin. Then customers scatter toppings into their cups, choosing from more than 72 candies, fruits, and nuts. The colorful dessert creations are matched by the vibrant shop's bright aqua walls and lime green and orange accents.
At Yogafresh Bel Air LLC, the magic number is 100. Each serving of the shop's frozen yogurt is 100% fat-free and contains a mere 100 calories, so guests can indulge nearly guilt-free. Available in a number of rotating flavors such as island banana or cookies and cream, the frozen yogurt can also be bedecked with real fruit, which is even more delicious than the wax stuff. In addition to its frozen treats, Yogafresh also boasts a fresh juice bar and serves six all-natural soups every day.
The bakers at The Treasured Cookie are always aiming to unearth old memories, whether it's the smell of grandma's kitchen or a childhood memory of an after-school treat. Made by hand in small batches, each cookie is crafted from real butter, top-shelf sugar, and that flour you could never reach as a kid. Decorated and carefully packaged, cookies?as well as cakes and cupcakes?can be customized to celebrate a whole variety of occasions, from graduation to birthdays and anniversaries. Boxed meals such as cool veggie sandwiches and southwest salads are also offered as a healthier alternative to eating only frosting for lunch.
Home to a vast lineup of dairy-based frozen treats, Bruster's makes its ice creams, yogurts, and waffle cones fresh every day in-store. The menu boasts everything from a turtle sundae ($4.50) to a regular cone ($2.80+) or homemade waffle cone ($3.90) filled with one of the multitudinous ice-cream flavors, such as Monkey Madness––with banana ice cream, buckeyes, and marshmallows––or Chocolate Lover's Trash––chocolate ice cream filled with chocolate chunks, chocolate-covered peanuts, chocolate butter toffee, chocolate krispies, and receipts from visits to the biannual cocoa consortium. Bruster's also offers no-sugar-added options and fat-free ice creams, as well as low-fat yogurts.
The skilled bakers at KoDee Cakes specialize in one-of-a-kind cakes and cupcakes, which they make by hand using fresh ingredients. Bakers make exact replicas of your parents' wedding cake for an anniversary, or cartoon characters made from fondant and flour for when Huckleberry Hound is elected president. The bakers are also happy to accommodate diet requests, including vegan, gluten-free, and fresh fruit options.
But it doesn't stop there at just cakes: they also craft cookies, pies, cobblers, and cupcakes in flavors such as snickerdoodle, almond raspberry, banana foster, death by chocolate, butterscotch, and salted caramel. There's even savory fare available, such as bread fresh from the oven, sandwiches, and specially made dinners such as shrimp and grits.