Choco Coo Cafe (Richmond)

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I’ve been wanting to try Choco Coo Cafe for some time now, but because their first store was all the way in Coquitlam, it was quite out of the way for me. But now that they opened their second store in Richmond, I was super excited to check it out!

 

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The menu has a variety of coffee and teas available. And of course, a selection of cakes. When we opened during their soft opening, there was an extra 25% off but the number of cakes were quite limited. I think they do have more cakes now that they have settled in.

 

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They put one of each of their cakes on display and you order and pay up front. They will bring you your order to your seat once ready. You can also order to go. The interior is actually quite asthetically pleasing with brown and white wooden decor and white marble cups and saucers. There are a large number of seats so a great spot to chat or get some work done.

 

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London Fog Cake

The first cake I tried was the London Fog Cake which was my favourite. The cake was a light sponge cake with layers of london fog cream and toasted almonds on top. The cream was strong in tea flavour and not overly sweet.

 

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Matcha Mousse

The Matcha Mousse had a chocolate crust on the bottom and layers of mousse. It was more of a Japanese style mousse with a bit of tart flavour to it. I personally didn’t enjoy this as much as others had raved about. The portion was also quite small compared to the rest of the cakes, even though it was priced the same.

 

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Green Tea Latte

What really drew me to Choco Coo Cafe was the latte art! I mean, how cute is this bear? If the cafe is not too busy, you can request to have latte art done and I think they are able to do quite a lot of art. The Green Tea Latte itself was rich in tea flavour and smooth drink. I don’t drink coffee often, but I personally enjoyed this.

 

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Overall, I’m glad to have this new addition to Richmond as we don’t have too many hipster cake and coffee spots in town. The cakes range from $4- $6 so in line with some other Western cake shops like Diplomat. There is also plenty of free parking below the condo for guests which is always a plus.

On a second visit, we arrived at the cafe at 9pm when the cafe was supposed to close at 10pm. We were told that we could only order take out because last call was at 9:30pm. We found this extremely odd because we arrived at 9pm. Why could we not order and sit in then? We weren’t going to stay past 10pm anyways and their cakes were already pre-made… Quite odd and a bit annoying when their hours are supposed to be until 10pm.

Pros:
– Latte art is beautiful and cakes are decent
– Decor is aesthetically pleasing

Cons:
– Odd service/ hours during closing

Price Range: $5 – $15 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3.5 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3.5 Parking: Plenty of free parking below Overall: 3.5

 

Choco Coo Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Wild Sweets: 2016 Holiday Collection

NOTE: All food and beverages were complimentary, but all opinions are based on my own experience.

Still looking for last minute holiday gifts? With the launch of the 2016 holiday collection, Wild Sweets has you covered whether you’re looking for the perfect cake to bring to your holiday parties or if you’re looking for a box of chocolates for a gift.

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Venezuela Ocumare Chocolate ‘Bûche de Noël’

A beautiful and elegant cake that will be a showstopper at your parties, this chocolate brownie cake has a variety of textures. The cake features crispy crêpes hazelnut praliné, dark chocolate & vanilla bean ganache, dark chocolate Crème Brûlée cream, dark chocolate sabayon mousse and dark chocolate gelée.

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Crispy Chocolate Cherry Orange ‘Tea Cake

One of the most surprising cakes for most of us was this one. They based the cake with the ingredients in a traditional fruit cake but completely modernized it. Usually, I hate fruit cakes because of how dense it is, but this had so many layers, creating a lovely texture.

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The cake is laced with dried cherries, cranberries, and orange peels which have been soaked in brandy. The cake is then placed over a crunchy buttery ‘sablé’ cookie topped with a hazelnut chocolate praline cream with crispy crepe flakes, and finished with a dark chocolate coating. I highly recommend giving this a try.

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Crispy Cherry Ganache Collection

This has a similar cake component to the Tea Cake, but is placed on top of hazelnut chocolate praline cream with crispy crepe cookies. A soft ganache made with different fruit-based liquid caramels is poured over the crispy praline / cake components.Each collection features an assortment of 4 chocolate bouchées with the following flavours,

  • William Pear & Chestnut Cream Caramel Ganache
  • Lychee Rose & Raspberry Caramel Ganache
  • Cassis Blackberry & Elderberry Ganache
  • Mandarin & Orange Zest Caramel Ganache

These reminded me of moon cakes but a chocolate cake version.

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Cocoa Bean Chocolate Tea

I believe when you make a purchase for both the Tea Cake and the Crispy Cherry Ganache Collection, you will receive a pack of the Cocoa Bean Chocolate Tea. I was confused when they told us we were trying chocolate tea. Did they mean they were going to melt chocolate in tea? But how come it looked literally just like tea? Well, the secret is the tea is made entirely from roasted cocoa beans and husks only. There is no sugar other than vanilla bean powder added. Seriously very tasty and something everyone should try!

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Santa-Sphere, Orna-Tree

Making great gifts, Wild Sweets also has Holiday cocoArt Sculptures for sale. These are made with milk and/or dark chocolate. And if you know the story of Wild Sweets, all their chocolates are made in-house from origin cocoa bean-to-bar chocolate.

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Tree

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Snowman

 

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Sleigh

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2016 Vintage Canadian Icewine Collection

Moving on to boxed chocolates, this box is perfect for those who enjoy ice wine. The box features an assortment of 12 chocolates, each comprising of 2 types of fillings: one is a honey nut and Canadian Icewine praline cream while the other is a soft ganache made with different Icewine and fruits purees associated with the specific tasting notes of 4 different types of Vintage Canadian Icewine with some as old as 1999. I’m a fan of ice wine, but I found that the ice wine flavour was too light and I could barely taste it.

The collection includes the following ganache flavours:

  • Cabernet Franc Icewine & Strawberry Apple Ganache
  • Riesling Icewine & Peach Orange Ganache
  • Vidal Icewine & Pineapple Passion fruit Ganache
  • Gewürztraminer Icewine & Lychee Rose Ganache

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2016 Vintage ‘Ganache Classique Nougatine’

This box features an assortment of four different types of chocolate made from Single Origin cocoa beans. Each ganache filling is topped with a piece of salted butter cocoa nibs nougatine before being enrobed in dark chocolate. Therefore, I loved the slight crunch and chew this collection had. This was probably my favourite of the chocolates.

The collections includes the following origins and percentages:

  • 70% Venezuela Ocumare
  • 70% Venezuela Canaobo
  • 70% PeruOro Verde
  • 64% MexicoChiapas

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pRaliNe & caRaMel Collection N°12

I really liked the visual aspect of this box. The ‘Enrobed’ version features a soft and creamy ganache flavoured a fruit juice caramel, and coated in dark chocolate. The ‘Moulded’ chocolate is hand-painted with cocoa butter colours and filled with a rich and smooth hazelnut butter & milk chocolate cream laced with crispy French ‘crêpes’ cookies.I really enjoyed the orange flavours paired with the chocolate.

The collection features the following assortment of flavours:

  • Hazelnut & vanilla bean praline cream
  • Raspberry caramel & vanilla bean ganache
  • Hazelnut & orange zest praline cream
  • Fresh orange juice and zest caramel ganache

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cocoArt ‘Praliné Noisette’ Collection N°17

This box features sweetened hazelnut butter or praliné in various forms and with distinct textures. The collection includes 2 types of chocolates: crispy or creamy praliné. With the glitter and beauitfully painted art, this box is sure to impress.

The collection features the following assortment of flavours including:

  1. Crispy – Cinnamon Spice Praliné
  2. Crispy – Orange Zest Oil Praliné
  3. Crispy – Lemon Zest Oil Praliné
  4. Crispy – Anise Seeds & Oil Praliné
  5. Creamy – Apricot Passion Ganache
  6. Creamy – Orange Zest Ganache
  7. Creamy – Green Apple Kalamansi Ganache
  8. Creamy – Salted Butter Caramel Ganache
  9. Creamy – Double Vanilla Bean Ganache
  10. Creamy – Origin Espresso Coffee Ganache
  11. Creamy – Raspberry Lemon Zest Ganache
  12. Creamy – Black Currant (Cassis) Ganache

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cocoArt ‘Honey Heart’ Collection N°20

Each chocolate within the ‘Honey Heart’ Collection features 2 types of fillings: one is a smooth lightly scented honey-nut cream while the other is a soft ganache made with different fruit and berry juices. Super pretty and perfect for a loved one.

  • Cassis – Blackberry Fruit Ganache & Elderberry Honey-nut Cream
  • Mango – Apricot Fruit Ganache & Saffron Honey-nut Cream
  • Lychee – Raspberry Fruit Ganache & Rose Honey-nut Cream
  • Strawberry –  Pineapple Fruit Ganache & Orange Blossom Honey-nut cream

IMG by SophiaHo on 500px.com

Overall, I was very impressed with the new holiday collection, and especially with the cakes. The cakes are also priced very well at around $20-25 each. Make sure to pre-order online in advance to guarantee your cake.

Wild Sweets Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ganache Patisserie

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Cassis et Matcha – cassis mascarpone cream, cassis gelee, milk chocolate parfait, matcha biscuit charlotte, blackberries

I’ve always heard great things about Ganache Patisserie, and finally I got to try them. Both desserts were matcha base desserts. The first was the Cassis et Matcha. Cassis is sort of like blackcurrant, so there was a sweet and sour taste to it.

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I love how the inside is all leveled with the layers. I really enjoyed the cassis flavoured mascarpone cheese. Very smooth. There wasn’t a lot of matcha flavour though.

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Matcha-Exotique – green tea mousse, mango-passionfruit gelee, lychees, black sesame biscuit joconde

The second was the Matcha-Exotique, which is a green tea mousse.

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In the middle, there is a mango-passionfruit gelee, which was my favourite part. The cake itself is a mix of black sesame biscuit cake and the green tea mousse. There are lots of textures going on, but it all works. I preferred this one over the first.

Overall, Ganache Patisserie makes quite unique cakes. Not your typical flavours and they definitely aren’t simple. Looking forward to trying their other cakes.

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Cafe Est! Est! (MyLord Shinjuku) – Tokyo

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Mille Crepe Cake Parfait

After lunch at Tamago to Watashi, we found a dessert shop on the same floor. It was called Cafe Est! Est! and the plastic models of the desserts presented in a display outside their store definitely lured us in. They had a large selection of parfaits, crepes and sundaes. Other than desserts, they also have actual main entrees, but we were here for the desserts! After sitting down, we realized that again, each person had to order at least one item. Seeing that the drinks were roughly the same price as the desserts, we ended up each ordering one dessert. For myself, I chose the Mille Crepe Cake Parfait. After having the Mille Crepe from Lady M in Korea, I had to try it again! Unfortunately, this was nothing close to as good as the one from Lady M. It did have the layers of crepe, but it was hard rather than light and fluffy. It didn’t seem like a fresh cake. Underneath, there was a scoop of vanilla ice cream, some corn flakes, and the rest were whipped cream! After eating the cake, I didn’t even end up finishing the rest of it. It was overly sweet and eating pure whipped cream was nasty. It wasn’t even good whipped cream. Super disappointed!

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Black Sugar Mochi Crepe

K went for the Black Sugar Mochi Crepe. It was filled with mostly whipped cream and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. On top, there were also mochi that was covered with black sugar. Some sprinkles were added to make it look cute and pretty. I actually enjoyed her crepe much more than my parfait. The black sugar mochi were very yummy!

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Cheesecake Parfait

C got the Cheesecake Parfait, which had the same problem as mine. Way too much cream at the bottom! The cheesecake was decent, but it wasn’t the best I’ve had. It was smooth, but again, it didn’t taste fresh. Overall, I wasn’t too pleased with the parfaits at Cafe Est! Est! They are also quite pricey, at around 800 to 1,000 yen for a basic parfait. If you are interested in crazy looking parfaits, then this may be the place for you. They have a famous parfait called EST 48, which has ice cream sundae cones stacked on top of another and reaches 48 centimeters. high. But honestly, I doubt that it tastes that great. It’s more for the looks.

Address: 160-0023 Tokyo, Shinjuku, Nishishinjuku, 1−1−3, 新宿ミロード7階

The Cake Workshop

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On my birthday, my family pre-ordered a birthday cake for me. Instead of going to the usual mainstream bakeries, my dad has been frequently ordering cakes at The Cake Workshop. It’s a bit of a hidden gem, but the baker actually only recently opened an actual cake shop in the food court of Pacific Plaza Mall on Odlin Cres. He started the business at home, but eventually had too many orders and so it was better off to open an actual shop. My dad says he’s an experienced baker and used to bake in Hong Kong for years.

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I chose to have the Tiramisu, which came nicely decorated with strawberries and whipped cream. This was a 6″ and cost only $18. Much cheaper than many other bakeries out there. The cakes are simple and nothing too fancy, but of good quality! I think most people enjoy his cakes because they aren’t as sweet as most of the cakes at other bakeries. If you’re someone who finds cakes too sweet, than this might be the choice for you.

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The cake part of the tiramisu was moist, light and fluffy, whereas the mascarpone cheese was smooth and creamy. You do need to pre-order the cakes in advance. There aren’t any cakes for walk in sales at the shop. You also have the choice of getting the cake delivered for free if it’s within Richmond, or you can pick up at the shop.

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Cafe Sacher – Vienna

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When in Vienna, you’re told to visit Cafe Sacher at the Hotel Sacher. Hotel Sacher is a 5 star hotel and is next to the Vienna State Opera. Luckily, it’s also open on Christmas Day, so a perfect place to visit since basically nothing is open that day. The hotel was founded in 1876 and is known to be one of the best hotels in the world, especially known to be the place where the upper class stayed.

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The inside of the cafe makes you feel like royalty, with chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, comfy couches, and paintings hung all around. Red velvet is everywhere in the room. Your servers are also dressed in maid outfits, so you can really believe that you’re a royalty at that moment.

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So what’s so special about Cafe Sacher, other than the royal decor? The Sachertorte! It’s a type of chocolate cake that was invented by Franz Sacher for the Prince. Cafe Sacher is famous because this Sachertorte was first served here. It’s known to be the Original Sacher Torte. This cake has basically become a significant icon in culinary for Vienna. You’ll find various variations of this sacher torte at many other places in Vienna. The menu also has other items, including actual entrees, but obviously people come here for the cake! I thought it was funny how the menu came on this little handle too.

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We were here basically for breakfast, so we got some hot drinks to begin. Yes, we eat dessert for breakfast! K had the Cappuccino, while I chose the Hot Chocolate with Whipped Cream. K said her Cappuccino was very good, but not amazing or the best she’s had. For myself, I found the Hot Chocolate to be too milky. It wasn’t strong in chocolate, and instead had an almond milk flavour to it. It was okay, but I probably wouldn’t pay that price for it. What’s interesting is that your drinks will also come with a small glass of water. I guess you’re supposed to cleanse your mouth and such? I have no idea…

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And then came the famous Original Sacher Torte. You will see the chocolate seal stating it’s from Hotel Sacher on your cake. I should have gotten a side view of the cake, but it’s essentially a chocolate cake with a thin layer of apricot jam. The top is coated with dark chocolate icing and is served with a portion of unsweetened whipped cream. To be brutally honest, I think this cake is way overrated. It was good, but I don’t think it was amazing and it wouldn’t be something I would crave to eat. I agree it was pretty moist, but I’ve had chocolate cakes that are much more moist. I found it rather dense, and there was a strange chocolate taste to it. Perhaps it was the apricot filling, but I didn’t really enjoy that taste. The icing is also sort of hard, which I didn’t like. I honestly think that it’s just too expensive for what is is. I can now say I’ve tried the original recipe for the Sacher Torte, but I doubt I would visit again.

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We also tried the Viennese Apple Strudel, because Vienna is also famous for their apple strudels! Man… I really wanted to take that apple strudel class for kids at the Schonnbrun Palace… Anyways, this was again just average. It wasn’t bad, but for what I paid for, I could be having some really good strudel. It had an abundant of apples, but the whip cream cost extra. Seriously… it’s just whip cream.

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And here was my breakfast. Definitely an expensive breakfast. To add on, you have to pay I believe 1 euro for your coat check, and they sort of FORCE you to coat check. They set the temperature really high in the room, and advise you it’ll be warm inside. And obviously, when you dine at these fancy places, you’re pretty much obligated to pay a decent tip. But seriously, the maids here who serve give the worst attitude ever. If you don’t want to serve people, why do you even work here? Perhaps we didn’t dress like aristocrats, hence the poor service, but I don’t believe there should ever be a reason like that. People here need to be trained about what good customer service is.

Carmelitas – Barcelona

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Bread with Chocolate, Olive Oil and Salt

After dinner at Tickets, we were obviously still sort of hungry. We met up with D since it was our last farewell night and headed to Carmelitas. C had been here before and said that their food is average, but they have good desserts and a casual environment. It’s located in the Raval area, so it can be a little sketchy at night, so go as a group. The restaurant is also a bar, so it was huge. We were taken to the very back where it was much more quiet but seated more of us. We had a pitcher of sangria and ordered pretty much every dessert on the menu! First was the Bread with Chocolate, Olive Oil and Salt. The rest of the group thought it was an interesting combination, but C and I had already tried something similar at Tapas 24. This was definitely a lazy version of it. We could’ve easily made this at home. It was literally a piece of bread brushed with olive oil, with two squares of semi-melted chocolate and topped with salt. It was smooth and the salty mixed with sweet was again a good taste. Still, I would prefer the Tapas 24 one more, since the chocolate was almost like a mousse.

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Cheesecake

We tried two of their homemade cakes, which you need to ask about since they change daily. We had the Cheesecake, which I really liked. It was topped with some honey on top! Very smooth and fluffy and the top was golden.

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Chocolate Cake

The second homemade cake was the Chocolate Cake. It was quite dense and more like a fudge cake. It came with some nuts as well on the side. Not bad!

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Santa Teresa’s Toast with Ice Cream

We weren’t sure what the Santa Teresa’s Toast really was, but we went for it anyways. It was basically like french toast, but with more of a cake batter. It was deep fried on the outside and topped with sugar on the outside. I loved it! So good! There was some honey on it too. It came with a scoop of walnut ice cream, which was additional, but the warm and cold feeling was amazing!

The desserts were around 4 euros each, which is reasonable at a restaurant. We loved how the environment was really casual and we didn’t feel pressured to leave or order more. Service was also great!

Pierre Marcolini – Brussels

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I love to eat chocolate, but to say that I’m anything close to understanding chocolate is definitely an overstatement. So while we were in Brussels, chocolate was literally everywhere! Belgian chocolate is so well known, but honestly, I can’t say I could tell the different brands apart. They all tasted pretty good! Like for instance, Godiva was everywhere, and very accessible in Canada, and personally, I think Godiva is pretty good chocolate. And when I compare it to some other Belgian brands like Leonidas, I honestly can’t say that one is way better than the other. Since these two Belgian brands are easily accessible in Canada, C and I were looking for chocolate brands that we weren’t able to find back at home. Pierre Marcolini was one of them. Pierre Marcolini opened his first store in 1995, and since then it has stores in major cities like Paris, New York, London, and Tokyo. We had walked by this store the previous day, but we forgot where it was. We were desperate to get some hot chocolate here, and ended up walking in the rain for probably 30 minutes, but it was well worth it!

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Each hot chocolate comes with a speculoo. We found that speculoos are very popular in Belgium. They are a shortcrust biscuit that is spiced, usually with pepper, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom, and nutmeg. We found that it was very similar to a gingerbread. I believe they were offering this because it’s a tradition to eat these biscuits before St. Nicholas’ feast. Their Santa is called St. Nicholas, and he looks a bit different!

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And this was the hot chocolate. Unlike the hot chocolate in Barcelona where it’s basically melted chocolate, this was something I was much more used to. The chocolate was very rich and strong though. I think it was also lightly seasoned with nutmeg. Very smooth as well.

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After, C bought a cake to try. Their cakes are beautiful but definitely quite pricey! This one had a hazelnut filling with layers of crispy wafers inside. The filling was smooth and rich in flavour. A good splurge if you want some visually beautiful and tasty cake! I probably should’ve have spoiled myself on a piece of their chocolates since I hear they are one of the best in the city!