(Image Source: The Hop Ice Cream Café)
If you have a sweet tooth, Asheville is going to be trouble for you. The city’s vibrant culinary scene spills over into the business of desserts. From Vortex Donuts on the South Slope to The Hop Ice Cream in West Asheville, there is a sweet treat for every mood and occasion. Let’s explore the most prevalent dessert categories in our city!
On the South Slope of Asheville, Vortex Doughnuts serves up a rotation of scrumptious handmade donuts and no fuss coffee and espresso. Nestled among a handful of breweries, it is no surprise that one of their best-selling donuts features a beer glaze and crushed peanut and pretzel topping. This is a true Asheville culinary combination: craft beer and gourmet donuts. If you want to try a bunch, go on a Wednesday when dozens are half off (your welcome).
In West Asheville, Hole Doughnuts serves up fried-to-order donuts. Every donut in the shop uses their signature single yeasted dough recipe as a base. The toasted almond sesame cinnamon doughnut is a local favorite - but you can’t go wrong with anything they serve. The best part is that every donut arrives in your hand fresh out of the fryer.
Hand-Churned Ice Cream
Asheville is serious about ice cream. Since 1978, the Hop Ice Cream Café has been the premier purveyor of frozen treats. Their inventive flavors place an emphasis on local ingredients and collaboration. If you love donuts and ice cream, you have to make it to the next donut ice cream sandwich night at The Hop. The ice cream shop has two locations: one in West Asheville and one on Merrimon Avenue. They offer both dairy and vegan ice cream options, sandwiched between donuts from Vortex and Hole. Watch their Facebook page for event updates.
In addition to The Hop, Ultimate Ice Cream scoops delicious flavors for the North Asheville neighborhoods. Nestled along Charlotte Street (with another location on Tunnel Rd.), Ultimate has a flavor of the month, which is always prominently displayed on the front window. Customer favorites include classics like fresh strawberry, Belgian chocolate, and For the more adventurous ice cream connoisseur, Ultimate Chai and salted caramel are sure to please.
No tour of Asheville’s dessert scene is complete without gourmet chocolates. French Broad Chocolate Lounge usually has a line out the door during peak business hours. Their Pack Square location features their signature truffles, plus a myriad of other decadent chocolate desserts. Concoctions like marshmallows, flourless cakes, themed cookies, and milkshakes are available to order. For true chocolate lovers, however, a box of truffles is the perfect way to sample the unique and sometimes wild flavors cooked up by the chefs at French Broad.
If you are downtown, you should also visit The Chocolate Fetish on Haywood Road. The Fetish is known for their award-winning chocolates like their classic truffles and shareable chocolate rounds. Their chocolate rounds are essentially adult candy bars, featuring flavors like s’mores, cookies and cream, and bourbon pecan. Chocolate purists and sweet-lovers alike can find something delicious at Asheville’s chocolate shops.
Pastries, Pies, and Cakes Galore
Our final category of Asheville desserts is pastries. We are lucky to have several top notch bakeries churning out fresh scones, croissants, and pies every day. Our favorite spots include O.W.L. Bakery, The Rhu, and Short Street Cakes. If you are looking for classic Southern desserts, the bakery at Buxton Hall Barbeque makes a mean banana pudding pie that you just have to try!
No matter what kind of sweets you are craving, Asheville’s epic ice creameries, pastry chefs, and doughnut makers have you covered. Now to try and figure out where to start!