The Sweet Side of Vancouver

Seven places to indulge your sweet tooth 


Vancouverites might have a penchant for healthy living, but that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy a sugary treat now and again. Here are seven top places to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Thomas Haas

Pastry chef and chocolatier Thomas Haas may originally hail from Germany, but Vancouverites are happy to claim him as their own thanks to the delectable sweets and excellent coffee he serves up at his two cafés (not to mention his dedication to the local road-biking scene). Drop by for cakes, tarts, pastries and more made with the best local and imported ingredients, from Fraser Valley hazelnuts to aged maple syrup from Quebec.

Soft Peaks

Made with organic milk from a local dairy, the soft serve ice cream at this popular spot in Gastown is offered in cups or cones with a variety of toppings and syrup. The Green Forest, for instance, is made with matcha, sweet red beans and condensed milk, while the Rocky Mountain includes toasted coconut and your choice of liquid honey, maple syrup, chocolate sauce or caramel.

Beaucoup Bakery & Café

Show up early to Beaucoup for the best selection of the cookies, tarts and pastries that have made chef Jackie Kai Ellis a household name among local food lovers (some call her croissants the best in the country). Popular picks include the buttery kouign amann, the Asian-inspired black sesame choux and the decadent peanut butter sandwich cookie.

Rain or Shine

With two locations, this made-from-scratch ice cream bar offers cones, cups or pints of both traditional (chocolate, salted caramel) and out-of-the-ordinary (blueberry balsamic) flavours, plus vegan options and milkshakes. Come on Tuesdays for tacos—ice cream tacos, that is, served in waffle cone shells.

Liberty Bakery

This bright yet cozy space—think white-painted, portrait-covered walls and warm rugs on tiled floors—is home to a selection of classic and creative baked goods like cat-shaped gingerbread cookies, seasonally decorated sugar cookies and sprinkle-covered pastry stacks. One standout is the pulla, a cardamom-flavoured Swedish take on the cinnamon bun.

Cartems Donuterie

Cake or yeast, baked or fried, vegan or gluten-free, there’s something for everyone at this downtown doughnut shop, which sources many local and organic ingredients (flour from Chilliwack, eggs from Richmond and butter from Maple Ridge). Purists might go for the classic chocolate glaze, while more-adventurous eaters should go straight for the London Fog filled with Earl Grey tea-infused cream, or seasonal flavours such as one with rhubarb filling.

East Van Roasters

Want to feel good about eating lots of chocolate? Buy it at this East Side bean-to-bar chocolaterie, a social enterprise dedicated to providing employment and training to women who are in treatment for addiction and transitioning from homelessness. Plus, social enterprise or not, the chocolate’s top-notch, whether you pick up basic single-origin bars, honey-stuffed truffles or a brownie with chocolate-caramel sauce and organic whipped cream.