Skip dessert? Unthinkable!
Habibah, Amman, Jordan: For the city’s best knafeh, follow the queue down an alleyway near downtown’s Arab Bank. The generous pockets of shredded phyllo and sweet cheese are crowned with local pistachios and syrup, and served piping hot.
Mr. Minsch, Berlin: The vibe is Mad Hatter meets 1950’s hausfrau at this Kreuzberg takeout bakery, where master pastry chef Andreas Minsch turns out his extravagant confections. You’ll be hard-pressed to choose between an enormous cinnamon roll or a slice of the popular Black Forest cherry cake. 49-30/2845-0894.
Christina’s Homemade Ice Cream, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Behind a distinctive lavender façade on Inman Square, the shop’s intense, exotic flavors (more than 50 each day) include burnt sugar, licorice, honey-lavender, apple cider, and cinnamon-spiced Mexican chocolate.
Auntie Sweet, Hong Kong: In the laid-back Tin Hau neighborhood, groups of boisterous families head to this cheery café for traditional Asian desserts, including terrific tong shui (sweet Cantonese soups and custards), durian-and-tofu pudding, and our favorite: super-rich black-sesame ice cream. 852/2508-6962.
Cristalli di Zucchero, Rome: Adjacent to a farmers’ market just off the Circus Maximus is a pretty-in-pink pasticceria where Parisian-style tartlets are made with regional ingredients like apricots and pistachios. Order the flaky ricotta-and-chocolate-filled Romanella at the counter with an espresso—then get another one to go.
Ice Monster, Taipei: Ignore the candy-colored popsicles up front. What you want is the “mango avalanche”—shaved ice piled high with cubes of fresh fruit, mango pudding, condensed milk, and mango sorbet. It’s enough for four dainty eaters or two ravenous ones.
Xocolat, Vienna: Even the most jaded epicurean succumbs to the Willy Wonkaesque sense of wonder at this haven for the cocoa-obsessed. Lose yourself amid the shelves of chocolate bars, truffles, and pralines—some house-made, some globally sourced—then sign up for a class in creating your own.
Cristalli di Zucchero
Tucked away where Via di San Teodoro meets the western end of the Circus Maximus, this Parisian-style pasticceria is a little off the beaten path. The emphasis at this upscale sweet shop is on cakes and tarts, which are created in individual or miniature sizes and available to take out. Options include the stromboli, a light cake topped with fresh fruit and cream and the mille-feuille, a puff pastry layered with Chantilly cream. The eatery also serves coffee, tea, and fruit-flavored gelato.