Forget walking to sweets, I would crawl to them if I had to. But, luckily, I didn’t have to walk too far to sample a few treats that were out of my usual cookies and cream ice cream and plain Hershey’s bar comfort zone while on the Sugartooth Tours Sweeter Than Sugar Evening Dessert Crawl.
Sugartooth Tours’ newest hour-and-a-half tour compiles some of the Meatpacking District’s hidden gems along with one well-known location for the perfect after dinner activity or pre-game for a night of fun. Each location offers a sample of a popular treat, leaving the tour taker ready to back track once the tour is over to try out some other desserts.
“One of the goals of our company is to get off the beaten path,” said co-founder Sarah Rolleston, who founded Sugartooth Tours with Allyson Tolbert in 2012. The two couldn’t find a dessert food tour in New York City, so they decided to make their own. “We pride ourselves in introducing locals and visitors to places they wouldn’t know otherwise.”
Our tour began with a veil of darkness just a few blocks from Chelsea Market, a perfect stop before the tour to fill your stomach with a meal, at Li-lac Chocolates, 40 8th Ave. Our licensed tour guide, Dionna, greeted us just outside the shop, being sure to get to know a bit about us before starting the tour, including our favorite treat. The quaint little shop presented a showcase filled with chocolate covered Oreos and pretzels, varieties of caramels, bars and barks and more that immediately catches the eye as you walk in. As Dionna spoke a bit about the store’s history, we tried the two samples on the menu at Li-Lac Chocolates—the butter crunch and champagne truffles. Looking at the butter crunch and upon hearing its name, I figured it might taste like a Butterfinger, but I was completely wrong. The butter crunch packed a powerful bite of almond toffee lightly covered in almond dust and somehow immediately melted in your mouth. While the champagne truffles didn’t hold any alcohol, they offered a little snap when you bit into them with a luscious chocolaty center and a hint of champagne.
We walked about seven minutes to the popular Sugar Factory, 835 Washington St., as Dionna gave some history on the Meatpacking District and its transition from the meat industry to a fashion boutique and lively nightlife-filled district as well as a brief history on the High Line, which is on view during the walk over. The Sugar Factory, known for its dry ice filled smoking goblets, was the first stop that allowed for customization. Dionna told us we were kids in a candy store, gave us each a container and allowed us to fill them to the brim, offering a helpful hint to drop in some mini M&Ms or Nerds to fill the cracks left by the larger candies.
Just five minutes from Sugar Factory, we arrived at the third stop of the night, Sherry B Dessert Studio, 643 Hudson St. The minimalistic shop was featured as one of O, The Oprah Magazine’s “favorite things” in 2017 and named one of the “Best Cookie Bakeries in the Country” by The Food Network. One of the store’s one-of-a-kind dessert options we sampled was Sherry B’s homemade marshmallows. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of marshmallows unless they’re on s’mores, but these weren’t normal marshmallows. I’d even go so far as to say they barely tasted like marshmallows. Tour guests have the option to sample from more than 10 varieties of marshmallows, both boozy and non-boozy, ranging from flavors like chocolate-dipped peanut butter to bourbon. The chocolate-dipped peanut butter marshmallow tasted like a Reese’s cup if it were a pillow, while the bourbon, beautifully displayed with red and white sprinkles, actually tasted as though you were drinking a glass of bourbon. From huge ice cream cake sandwiches that may need more than one person to eat to stuffed brownies and a gigantic s’mores bar for at least 10 people, the store had such unique treats that, by the end of the tour, I was ready to head back to Sherry B to try more of her sweets.
The final stop brought us to Molly’s Cupcakes, 228 Bleecker St., a shop that donates a portion of its profits to schools in the community and is inspired by the founder’s third grade teacher who would bake cupcakes for students’ birthdays. With a wood-heavy design reminiscent of a school, complete with swing chairs, we customized mini cupcakes with different cake and frosting flavors for a red velvet with cream cheese frosting and decadent chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. Most of the time when I’ve indulged in a cream cheese frosting, it has rarely had a stand-out cream cheese flavor, but Molly’s cupcake boasted a robust cream cheese taste atop a fluffy cake.
Sugartooth Tours’ Evening Dessert Crawl is perfect for guests of all ages because of its short walks and for couples, tourists and local families because it may introduce locals to some hidden gems and tourists to the real luscious treats of New York City. Dionna explained a tour can hold a maximum of 16 guests, but, most of the time, has about two to six guests, making the tours feel more private. The Evening Dessert Crawl runs on most Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., are about 90 minutes and tickets are $44.
Sugartooth Tours also offers the Sweeter Than Sugar Chelsea/West Village Dessert Tour, a Bright Light & Broadway Bites Dessert Tour and Find Heaven in Hell’s Kitchen Dessert Tour. Because Valentine’s Day is coming up, Sugartooth Tours is offering a Sweeter Than Sugar Valentines Dessert Tour Feb. 10, 11, 16 and 17 at 4 p.m. and Feb. 14 at 6 p.m. An abbreviated version, the Evening Dessert Crawl: Valentines Edition will be available Feb. 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m.
For more information and tickets, visit www.sugartoothtours.com or call 917-856-6761.