A hodgepodge of truffles, caramels, fudges, and ice cream treats greets confectionary cravers and ice cream screamers at Hilliards House of Candy. Peruse fine chocolates as soft as hazelnut figaro ($11.75 for 8 oz.) or as hard as peanut-and-caramel jazz squares ($11.75 for 8 oz.). The buttery cashew brittle ($9.50 for 8 oz.) gives teeth a challenge, and the Grand Marnier truffle ($2.20) intrigues the taste buds with orange liquor flavor and chocolate ganache. Hilliard's serves its ice cream cones, sundaes, and frappes until October 31, but after that you can still pick up a pint ($5.95) or a quart ($8.95) to take home or bring to a lonely mailman.
Though its name evokes Italian cuisine, Cafe Romano supplements its Italian bites with American diner classics. Old-country entrees such as frittatas or a dish of eggs, red bliss potatoes, and meat share space on the breakfast menu with American-style hash browns and eggs. At lunch, diners can dig into housemade lasagna or pastrami sandwiches.
At first, Cakes by Paula was a solution to a personal problem. Paula Surrette wanted to personalize her son's birthday parties with custom cakes but couldn’t find a shop willing to bake truly custom designs. So she took a slew of classes, first to make cakes for her own family, then for her friends, and now for clients across Massachusetts, including Boston Red Sox great David Ortiz. During one-on-one consultations, Paula encourages clients to bring pictures, printouts, and flowers to customize their dream cake, whether it be a chocolate cake in the shape of a guitar or a lemon cake in the shape of a chocolate cake.
The scenery behind the counter at Just Desserts Bakery & Cafe can be a bit overwhelming. That's because its bakers fill the glass display cases with a full array of freshly baked sweets, from fondant-topped cupcakes to crispy cannoli. They churn out options for all hours of the day. Eclairs cater to the early crowd's need for a morning sugar rush, and cups of coffee serve the needs of those trying to stay up all night to be the first in line for those eclairs.
The centerpiece of the bakery, however, has always been its cakes and cupcakes. For special occasions, bakers shape batter and swirl frosting to create themed treats. The flavors are just as unique as the designs, with options such as Junior Mint, banana creme, and lemon. Upon request, they can even craft cakes that shun the use of sugar, gluten, or animal products.
Every Sunday, the culinary commanders at The Mansfield General Store line the shop’s wooden clapboard walls with classic brunch dishes. French toast serves as a crispy pedestal for scrambled eggs and bacon, which patrons can garnish with syrup and butter slung from dainty cut-glass dishes. Strawberry rivulets cut channels through fluffy pancake stacks and cornbread. Additionally, health-conscious diners can concoct a wholesome fruit, yogurt, and granola parfait. For dessert, forks pierce a crackly crust before sinking into the apple crisp’s gooey center.
Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt's network of self-serve dessert shops treat taste buds without expanding waistlines. Each cup of creamy frozen yogurt is priced by weight, and comes in an endless assortment of possible flavor and topping combinations. Guests can spoil their dinner without spoiling their diet thanks to Orange Leaf's sensible selection of low-fat treats, some of which clock in at as few as 25 calories per ounce. After diners top their fall-themed or chocolate-flavored desserts with crumbled graham crackers, peach slices, berries, or granola, they can dig in amid the shops’ bright green-and-orange-color scheme.