The Marble Slab Creamery sensory experience begins by just walking past the storefront, where the buttery scent of fresh-baked waffle cones drifts out into the air. Once inside, buckets of gourmet ice cream, crafted on site from Marble Slab’s original French recipe or flown in directly from ice-cream mines high in the northern Himalayas, entice the eyes with a rainbow of colors. Once clients have made a flavor selection, they choose from a smorgasbord of mix-ins, from fresh fruit to nuts to candy and crumbled cookies, which an ice cream chef then hand-folds in atop a frosty marble slab before packing the finished custom-designed flavor masterpiece into a house-made waffle cone.
In addition to procuring hand-held treats, Marble Slab Creamery can send creations home in a variety of other formats, such as ice cream cakes, cupcakes, and hand-packed quarts, or in the capable hands of a catering team that arrives at events with portable marble slabs or sundae bars in tow.
Dessert refuses to be an afterthought at Ye Ole Fashioned Ice Cream & Sandwich Cafe. More than 30 ice-cream flavors—repeatedly lauded by the Charleston City Paper and Moultrie News—pile atop cones or blend into milk shakes, and classic banana splits make mouths water with their pecans and cherries. The café’s scoops of amaretto cherry or java chunk are generous, living up to the vision of Rod Lapin, who opened the first Ye Ole Fashioned in 1972 with the idea of making customers’ jaws drop at the size of his portions.
Today, at more than half a dozen locations, including one helmed by his daughter Becki and her husband, that hasn’t changed. Ten strips of bacon layer the café’s signature BLTs; chili-laden, all-beef hot dogs weigh down their buns; and the plates are required to start lifting weights regularly before they’re allowed to carry double-decker sandwiches or burgers.
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 ensmoothiasts can trim down and float away with the Celestial Cherry High, packed with bananas, black cherries, papaya, turbinado, and honey, and unpacked with fat. You can also customize any smoothie by adding enhancers or “make it skinny” by cutting out the honey and turbinado.
Great Harvest specializes in baking tasty delicacies and healthy, homemade breads that are high in fiber, free of preservatives, and crafted every day with freshly milled flour. The bread selection changes throughout the week according to a monthly schedule; previous offerings have included Tuscan herb, spinach-feta, and Dakota bread, which is a baked bundle of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and millet ($5.50–$7.50). If you seek something stratified, layer the loaf of your choice with your favorite sandwich fillings such as ham and swiss ($5.75) or harvest veggie ($6.95). The bakery always has slices on hand to sample, giving unsure tongues a chance to try on different styles before committing to a particular meatsuit. Sweets such as fresh-baked scones ($2.50), muffins ($2.75), cookies ($1.25), cinnamon rolls ($3), and bars ($2) not only make excellent meal ends but also aromatic bookends and slightly sticky juggling tools.
Christophe Paume, a third-generation Chocolatier, learned the art of cocoa manipulation as a child in his father's pâtisserie in Toulouse, France, and has been crafting sweet masterpieces ever since. His current shops form all of their mouthwatering morsels on site, subbing pesky preservatives for sweet, chew-activated infusions of children's choir harmonies. Hand-painted, molded, and flavor-filled chocolates come in 19 tongue- and eye-dazzling varieties, including lavender caramel, mango rum, fresh mint, and earl grey tea. Truffles seduce sweet teeth with tastes ranging from topical coconut to rich and creamy cappuccino cheesecake. Opt for an assortment (starting at $9.95 for four pieces) if you're feeling indecisive or like to use sweet-smelling boxes to capture spare noses.