From chocolate truffles housed in a heart-shaped box to candy bouquets, nothing says “I love you” quite like a sugar rush. This year, rather than pick up a standard round of chocolates for your loved one’s birthday or during an anniversary, why not opt for something a little different from one of Singapore‘s beloved homegrown businesses.
Whether it’s a smoked cruffin, freshly baked tropical granola, passionfruit curd-stuffed bomboloni or vegan ice cream made with butterfly pea flower, the Lion City’s pastry slayers and confectionery maestros have you covered for every occasion. Read on to find out where to get the best sweet treats for your special someone.
1. Vegan ice cream from Kind Kones
For a dessert that’s equal parts delicious and healthy, check out all-natural vegan ice cream company Kind Kones. Bad manufacturing techniques can easily cause ice cream made sans dairy, eggs and refined sugar to have a gritty texture and “thin” mouthfeel, but Kind Kones’ predominantly pastel-hued creations are luscious and creamy. Popular flavours include Almond Brittle Fudge, which is packed with cacao nibs, dairy-free chocolate chips and almonds for a satisfying crunch; the rose-scented Pistachio Kulfi that’s made with pistachio milk and fragrant spices; and Blue Planet, a concoction with chunks of matcha cake and butterfly pea flower to give it a pleasing blue hue. You can order both ice cream pints and smaller cups via its website for delivery. Alternatively, head down to its Forum Shopping Mall flagship and grab a couple of cones to enjoy while strolling down Orchard Road.
2. Fluffy bomboloni from Sourbombe
These days, it’s nearly impossible to scroll through your Instagram feed without seeing a picture of bombolini: Italian donuts that, instead of the customary hole in the middle, are stuffed to the seams with a decadent filling. One of the most popular brands is Sourbombe – which bills itself as making Singapore’s first artisanal sourdough bomboloni – for its airy dough, innovative flavours and eye-catching packaging. Drops usually happen once a week, with flavours changing up on a regular basis. You can visit its social accounts or sign up for its mailing list to find out when pre-orders (for delivery and self-collection) are open to the public. Flavours currently on deck include the Basque Burnt Cheesecake that’s piped with a creamy, oozy cheesecake filling; the Peanut Butter and Jam for a new spin on the classic snack; and the sophisticated Blueberry and Lemon Thyme, which is tart and aromatic with just the perfect level of sweetness.
3. Artisanal tarts from Tarte by Cheryl Koh
Helmed by the winner of Asia’s Best Pastry Chef at the 2016 Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, this is one of the top spots in Singapore when it comes to tarts. Part of the Les Amis culinary group, it boasts two brick-and-mortar branches, one at Shaw Centre and the other at Raffles City, with the former having undergone a recent refresh and expansion. Flavours here rotate on a seasonal basis, and run the gamut from rich classics such as Dark Chocolate, Piedmont Hazelnut and Black Forest (topped with a generous selection of Morello cherries); to refreshing variations such as Kumquat, Strawberry and Pear (poached pears with a fragrant and nutty almond frangipane). Do visit one of its stores or check out its website to see what’s currently on offer. Besides in-store purchases, it also offers online ordering for self-collection or delivery.
4. Crunchy granola from Dearborn Supper Club
Trust us, this isn’t your regular grocery store granola. Helmed by globally trained chef Christopher Kong, Dearborn Supper Club is a fine-casual private dining concept that focuses on whole foods, sustainable produce and seafood. But when the circuit breaker hit and they weren’t able to hold events, they pivoted to making quality granola – which they continue to churn out today. A new flavour is released every Monday at noon (a highly limited number of batches are made each week), which you’ll have to order “fastest finger first” style via their website for pick-up or delivery later that week. Previous flavour drops include peanut butter and dark chocolate; coconut and mango; as well as strawberry and macadamia, all of which are made with organic rolled oats and organic maple syrup, and are free from artificial flavourings. They also donate 10% of profits from every jar ordered to the Singapore Food Bank, so you know you’ll be snacking for a cause when you order from them.
5. Beautiful cakes from Mon Cerise Patisserie
After slogging it out at a major consulting company for years, Cherry Chiu decided to turn her love for baking into her full-time profession. So she quit her job, enrolled in pastry school at London’s Le Cordon Bleu, paid her dues by working at the British capital’s five-star hotel The Langham upon graduation and eventually returned home to start Mon Cerise Patisserie. Specialising in handcrafted cakes that hold back on sugar, but not on taste, her creations are both stunning to look at and absolutely delicious. Bestsellers include the perfectly pink Strawberry Charlotte, a Japanese sponge cake made with Madagascan vanilla cream, strawberry compote and citrus gel; as well as the Chocolate and Raspberry Dream, a decadent chocolate cake that’s complemented by raspberry cream, chocolate mousse and fresh raspberries. Visit the website for more information on how to place an order and to check out the brand’s seasonal specials.
6. Classic pastries from Le Matin Patisserie
Run by ex-Noma Singaporean pastry chef Mohammed Al-Matin, Le Matin Patisserie’s pastry box would make a perfect gift for a croissant-loving partner – that is if you can nab a box quickly enough. The operation first gained fame during the circuit breaker period, when daily drops of Al-Matin’s creations were snapped up within seconds. The brand has now found a permanent home, but still operates as an online delivery operation. Offerings in the five-item pastry box change periodically. The current line-up includes its signature Smoked Cruffin, which is injected with a charcoal-infused custard and topped with a charred eucalyptus meringue; a Mixed Plum Galette, made with tangy plum jam and lacto-fermented plums encased in a flaky shortcrust pastry; and the umami-laden Mushroom Foie Gras Danish, which is glazed with mushroom kombucha and layered with a seared foie gras custard.
7. Fudgy brownies from Lucia Cakes
Given that dozens of bakers have been retailing these dense, fudgy and oh-so-chocolately creations, you’d be forgiven for not knowing where to start your search. Our recommendation? Lucia Cakes, helmed by banker-turned-baker Agatha Xavier. After deciding on a career switch, the owner and head baker trained in the art of classical French patisserie at Le Cordon Bleu in London before setting up her store, which is named after her maternal grandmother. Baked fresh daily in small batches, the bite-sized nuggets are rich and decadent, yet aren’t cloyingly sweet. Classic flavours include Triple Chocolate, Salted Caramel, Peanut Butter and Nutella. You can order a box via the website (with the option of adding a custom inscription and gift-wrapping flourishes) for delivery or self-collection from their Club Street retail outlet.
8. Chunky cookies from Burnt Ends Bakery
You may know Burnt Ends as a Michelin-starred restaurant serving mouth-watering wood-fired modern Australian cuisine. But were you aware that they also run a killer online bakery operation? Selling everything from sourdough loaves and berry tarts to cinnamon rolls, these baked goods are made with the same creativity, flair and finesse that their namesake operation is known for. Besides the famed milo dinosaur doughnuts, the cookies are also worth a particular mention. Available in brown butter chocolate chip and salted caramelised white chocolate macadamia varieties, both have an immense depth of flavour and manage to hit that elusive sweet spot between crispy and crunchy, sweet and salty. You can purchase them in half-dozen and baker’s dozen quantities via the website, with both self-collection and delivery options available.
Please check the establishments’ respective websites for opening hours as well as booking and seating requirements before visiting, and remember to adhere to safe-distancing measures while out and about.