From its quiet perch on Franklin Street, Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shop slings premium fair-trade ice cream right alongside warm hand-rolled soft-pretzels from Auntie Anne's Pretzel. Friendly staffers fill cups with famous flavors such as Cherry Garcia, a smooth blend of cherry ice cream speckled with cherries and flakes of chocolate fudge. Phish Food infuses chocolate ice cream with marshmallow and caramel swirls, paying homage to the mellow tunes of the jam band Phish with fish-shaped fudge pieces that play eight-minute guitar solos. The shop was recently renovated to include an Auntie Anne's, whose pretzel professionals prepare a wide array of sweet and salty snacks, spiraling them into ornate knots with the delicacy of a grandmotherly sailor, and baking them to golden brown in full view of customers.
For more than 40 years, Robert Roskind had a vision of opening a café that would serve as a community gathering space. That dream came to fruition with Oasis in Carr Mill. Visitors read or converse over cups of Counter Culture Coffee or organic beer and nibble locally baked pastries, vegan burritos, and sandwiches from Foster's. Local speakers often deliver better-living presentations in the evenings, and on weekend nights, musicians play acoustic music. The café's decor is elegantly rustic, with wooden floors and ceilings, a beaded chandelier, and a lounge area with luxuriously large pillows.
Miel's gourmet chocolates and baked goods are handcrafted from fresh, upscale ingredients to please taste buds and sight buds alike. Designer cookies, cupcakes, and desserts are stuffed to the sugary gills with unusual, imaginative flavors, such as lavender almond shortbread, as well as American classics like vegan peanut butter and Henry David Thoreau's Walden. With their palate-pleasing complexities, Miel's decadent chocolates could make for a dentist-taunting meal of savory sweets. Drop a few triple espresso chocolates in a steaming cup of morning brew for a luxurious eye-opener, or suck a sea salt caramel for a taste of swashbuckling adventure, minus the wooden limbs and scurvy. Lemon-basil white chocolates and raspberry-rose dark chocolates lend botanical notes to the roster, while the truffle de whiskey promises to become the favorite of besotted uncles across the incorporated township. Mix and match a crock o' chocs at Miel's candy counter, or purchase a pre-arranged pantheon with six-piece ($15), nine-piece ($20.50), or 12-piece ($25) chocolate boxes. Any exiled member of Russian royalty is sure to be the toast of the office party with a bundle full of Miel's sumptuous sweets.
After Jacobus Stam attained a compliment-baiting reputation for crafting delectable pastries and chocolates at his bakery, Chocolaterie Stam was founded in Amsterdam in 1913 to focus solely on chocolates and sweet treats. Visitors of Chocolaterie Stam's American branches can enjoy a wide range of assorted sweets that contain no wax or preservatives. Savor nearly a century's worth of quality and tradition in every decadent bite, recalling the time when actual gold coins were the de rigueur dessert. Percolate palates with a gift box (starting at $15.95), gelato ($2.79), or a toothsome stack of stroopwafels toting a layer of caramel syrup ($4.50). Additionally, visitors can stop by to soak in the relaxing atmosphere and sip on a flavorful Italian soda, gelato, or hot chocolate instead of converting their home’s crawlspace into a compact café.
A red bicycle hangs on a wall at The Red Bicycle Coffee Café and Catering. Its perpetual stillness contrasts the bustling activity of the café's baristas, who grind single-origin beans for bold cups of coffee and creamy lattes. Though the beans are imported from exotic locales such as Hawaii, Ethiopia, or India, the local coffee artisans at Joe Van Gogh in Hillsborough check the expiration dates printed on each bean before roasting them to ensure a fresh taste.
In addition to steaming cups of joe, guests can sip Mighty Leaf whole-leaf teas, nibble locally baked pastries, and chomp into sandwiches loaded with deli meats and cheeses. The Red Bicycle's light morsels and laid-back atmosphere also attract local artists and musicians, who display their work on the walls and swing by to strum a guitar or perform Brahms's Second Concerto on the kazoo.
Outside of swimming laps in chocolate syrup, smoothies at Smoothie King are the tastiest way to improve your health. Smoothie King smoothies combine fresh fruit, natural juices, and special nutritional enhancers into more than 90 flavors (you can customize, add, and subtract the extras), all of which focus on achieving one of seven nutritional goals. Try an antioxidant-rich Pomegranate Punch with pomegranate, bananas, blueberries, apple juice, soy protein, and Turbinado sweetener to stay healthy. Weight-conscious en-smuthiasts can trim down and float away with the Celestial Cherry High, packed with bananas, black cherry, papaya, Turbinado, and honey, and unpacked with fat. You can also customize any smoothie, medium ($6.69 Value) or small ($4.49 Value), by adding enhancers or “make it skinny” by cutting out the honey and Turbinado.
The pastry pros at Carolina Cake Company fashion delectable desserts from scratch, employing gourmet ingredients such as Dutch-process cocoa, European chocolates, fresh fruit, and pure butter. Fifteen batter flavors, such as the cocktail-inspired Harvey Wallbanger, red velvet, cheesecake, and apple spice swell into sweet bases begging to be crowned by icing, devoured, and as loved as a firefly in a power-outage. Sweet teeth sing ballads of the good life when cavorting with one of 12 icing flavors, such as cream cheese and white-chocolate butter cream, all derived from italian meringue butter cream, a creamy spread that is responsible for the rich, smooth flavors of its standard icing base and the influx of overbooked flights to Rome.