Nothing is more synonymous with summer than sweets. Twisted soft serve in a cone topped with rainbow sprinkles, shaved iced decked out with handmade syrups, fried rolls full of cool, creamy delights. They may look and taste different depending on where in the world you are but they all have one thing in the common; the ability to put a smile on a face whether you’re 9 or 99.
From Bangkok to New Orleans and everywhere in between we rounded up the desserts of summer you’ll want to travel for.
Hidden off the beaten traveler’s path, Palawan is the stuff of dreams. Small fishing villages, turquoise waters and sandy beaches, jungles full of wildlife. It’s no wonder Travel + Leisure keeps putting Palawan on its must-visit list. And when you’re lounging on the beach you’ll order Halo-Halo. It’s basically everything sweet in a jar. The name actually means “mixed together.” There’s shaved ice, syrup, ice cream, custard and some sweet toppings.
It should come as no surprise that America’s locavore capital is serious about its ice cream. Known for food trucks and local brews, Portland has upped its ice cream skills in recent years. You’ll find spots offering up ice cream flights of six tastings for when it’s just impossible to choose between scoops filled with a variety of local ingredients including strawberries and microbrews.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
With all eyes turned to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic Games it’s only natural to include the city in a list of must-visit places for summer desserts. Especially, when you consider that the typical Rio dessert of summer is actually something you can eat for breakfast, lunch or just as a snack. You know it as an açaí bowl, (Açaí na tigela). It’s made of frozen, mashed açaí, served in a bowl or as smoothie and topped with tapioca, or granola and banana.
Visit: Bibi Sucos
New Delhi, India
Apologizes to the ice cream fans but once you’ve had Kulfi you’ll never really be satisfied with your beachside favorite again. India’s version of ice cream is creamy, dense and designed to melt slowly. Grab a cup, mango is one of the most popular flavors, and wander around historic Old Delhi, take in the Jama Masjid Mosque and shop at Chandni Chowk.
New Orleans, Louisiana
The Crescent City is bursting with history, music and food. So much so, it could take a lifetime to try all of New Orleans’s delights. Bananas Foster was invented here, Antonine’s Baked Alaska is famous, but if you only indulge in one sweet during your trip make it the Sno-Balls. Don’t mistake their traditional dessert of summer as a snow cone. Sno-balls, are made of shaved ice not crushed or ground, which New Orleanians believe makes the handmade syrup soak in better.
Visit: Hansen’s Sno-Bliz.
Multiple gelato shops on each block make Rome, one of the best cities for something cold and sweet. Denser and more intense than American ice cream you’ll find a gelato flavor for every type of sweet lover in the Italian capital. Stick to the traditional in a cup or opt for something more indulgent like a gelato panini, a warm brioche filled with gelato, or affogato—a shot of espresso poured over a scoop of vanilla gelato–additional shot of coffee liqueur optional, but recommended.
New York, New York
Many turn their back on New York City during the summer choosing sand over sidewalk, but minimal crowds make the summer one of the best times to visit the city that never sleeps. Especially if you’re a lover of frozen desserts. Want a Blueberry Macaron Ice Cream Sandwich? A Tangerine Granita? What about gelato or the Philippines’s halo-halo? In addition to homegrown ice cream boutiques where you can grab an old-school scoop or a classic sundae, NYC is home to shops serving the world’s hottest dessert trends.
For street food lovers Bangkok is paradise. Around every corner is a new vendor and the food is as unique as the city’s districts. In the green area you’ll find some of the oldest markets selling traditional Thai food while the Victory Monument area has a plethora of modern options. But one thing you’ll find almost everywhere is stir-fried ice cream. As you watch a vendor pours milk onto an ice gold grill, adding in flavors of your choice such as green tea, coffee, chocolate, and fruit and mixing it until rolls form at which point you can add more toppings.
Visit: Any vendor selling it that has a line.
Much like New York, Paris empties in the summer and while there is never a bad time to visit the City of Light, in the summer you’ll find it a little calmer. It’s the ideal time to wander the streets, take in the sights while window shopping and sample the many many delicious sweets. There’s the ultimate profiterole, an ice cream sandwich with pastry and chocolate sauce, the classic cream puff and of course you can never go wrong with macaroons with ice cream centers.