Exploring the sweeter side of New York

Irene Schultz

It’s likely that if you live in New York City, you enjoy exploring the sweeter side of the city. Sugartooth tours specializes in dessert tasting tours, with tours ranging from ice cream to cupcakes to special holiday treats. Their tours offer an original unique experience, wandering astray from the big commercialized bakery brands to experience the irreplaceable local spots.

The Pace Press recently had the pleasure of participating in Sugartooth’s “Valentine’s Sweetheart’s Tour,” which featured high-quality desserts made specially for the romantic holiday.

The very friendly and knowledgeable tour guides, Sarah Rolleston and Becki Cooper, who met while performing on tour in the musical Beauty and the Beast, started the company completely by themselves. They both loved doing food tours on the road and decided to start one of their own—they explained how they both equally love dessert, even expressing that if came down to risking one’s life over chocolate cake, they would choose the cake.

Sugartooth offers a variety of different themed dessert tours to suit every sugar-lover’s interests, but the Village Valentine’s Sweetheart’s tour is the perfect date idea for couples, or even just a pair of friends who want to go beyond just a box of chocolates to celebrate love on this occasion.

The tour began at City Cakes, located on 251 W. 18th St., famous for their half pound cookies. The “Half Pounder Cookie Club” offers huge satisfying cookies including Reese’s pieces peanut butter, triple chocolate spice, sugardoodle, and more. Their newest cookie featured was the ginger spice, based on the Spice Girls. Couples on the tour split one cookie to share, but it is more than enough of a serving size.
It is a nice added bonus that guests get to walk off the calories they just consumed while venturing through the slush and snow to the next dessert tasting spot.

Certified NYC tour guides, the girls presented a combination of both dessert and city history throughout the walk, as well as at the sit-down eating spots where guests learned interesting fun facts while tasting their freshly baked sweets inside the warmth. The small group sized tours provides for a conversational atmosphere.

The second stop was at the best indoor food mall in the world, Chelsea Market. Inside, the group met at The Ronybrook Dairy Farm Milk Bar, which is run by a family who raises their own cows completely organically and humanely, treating them as members of their own family.

While waiting for the next sweet treat to be prepared, Sarah and Becki explained the history of Valentines Day as a holiday, which originated from St. Valentine being sentenced to death for marrying soldiers and writing a letter to his love while in jail, signing it “from your Valentine.”

Guests received freshly brewed hot chocolate to drink while walking hand in hand with their sweetheart down the Highline. On the snow-flurried walk above the city, guests can see the water and sip hot chocolate as they listen to the history of the highline, which was originally built as an elevated train tracks to avoid deaths. The guides really made use of every minute of the trip, wasting no time by filling it with fun useful knowledge about NYC culture and desserts.

The next stop was the famous and trendy Sugar Factory. Originally based in LA, the NYC store is located in the Meatpacking District at 46 Gansevoort St.

Known for their couture lollipops, this hot spot is a favorite of celebrities including Britney Spears, Kim Kardashian and many others. Upon entrance there is a large candy wall, much like the one at the M&M factory in Times Square, which holds a variety of several different types of candy. Guests are allowed to choose any mixture of candies that they want, filling up one half pound bag to take with them.

Having covered cookies and chocolate, the next stop was a visit to Bee’s Knees, owned by the friendly baker Billy on 113 W. 10th St. Bee’s Knees specializes in cake-cups, which is quite literally how it sounds. A variety of seasonal cakes, as well as specialty Valentine flavors, served in a single serve sliced cup, was a perfect dessert to share with your sweetheart. Billy even offered guests coffee.

At the final decadent dessert tasting, guests have the option to add a wine or beer pairing to compliment their cupcake—a highly recommended tasteful combo. Sweet Revenge, located at 62 Carmine St., was created by a woman who didn’t get the promotion she intended and quit her job to pursue what she always dreamed of, going to culinary school and opening her own store. The tour guides certainly saved the best for last. “The Valentine Amour” cupcake was topped with a chocolate covered strawberry and was the perfect ending to a sweet tasting experience for the taste buds.

When choosing what places to visit on their tours, Sarah and Becki take their customers to places they really love themselves. “Our goal is to get off the beaten path on every tour we have,” said Sarah, making each Sugartooth Tour a unique and interesting experience.

Other seasonal and year-round tours include Find Heaven in Hell’s Kitchen, Broadway & Dessert Theatre District, Village-to-Village Cupcake Crawl, Ice Cream Summer Sundays, and the Union Square Holiday Market Dessert Tours.

Check out Sugartooh’s website (www.sugartoothtours.com) and Facebook for more info about events, as the lovely and friendly guides are looking into launching new exciting dessert tours.