An early Spring getaway experiencing the tasty side of Greenville, South Carolina
Do you have a “sweet tooth”? I have several. You too? Well this post is for you! At the time of this writing the holiday spirit is in full swing here in Greenville. Decorations are up along Main Street and many a mind is wandering back to childhood thinking of magical times and wondrous treats. There’s no better time to indulge a little, treat yourself, treat your friends, find gifts, order for parties… Go in search of dessert in Greenville! Scroll below for sticky, melty, fluffy, frosted, fried, baked, creamy, gooey goodness of all genres. Then head on out to find your happy place!
Can you hear that? I think it’s Tchaikovsky. Why yes, something about plums… Just what is a "sugar plum" and why did visions of them dance in children’s heads? Well, these are sugar plums:
But not these. These are soft plum flavored jellies. Not the same!
And, surprise! It has little to do with the plum fruit except the shape! "Sugar Plum" is an archaic term used from the 17th to the 19th century as another name for a hard, round sugar candy sometimes called "dragee" or more commonly, "comfit". The sweet was made of sugar hardened around a central seed or kernel, such as anise, cardamom, or almond, in successive layers using a process called "panning." The candy pan is kept in motion over heat, while successive layers of sugar are poured on and allowed to harden. M&Ms and jawbreakers are made in a similar way. Confectionery historian Laura Mason calls comfit-making "one of the most difficult and tedious methods in craft confectionery, requiring specialized equipment, careful heat control, and experience." Meaning that “sugar plums” were a luxury confection enjoyed by the wealthy, and often served at fancy parties. Which is why Victorian children would have them dancing in their heads!
So let’s start with a place to find old fashioned candies in Greenville. Mast General Store. Oh, gosh darn it, they have toys too! Alongside items like maple, and sassafras Soft Sticks, you will find the Sanded Drops, also in flavors like horehound and licorice! Plenty of packaged candies from yesteryear. Try to avoid the toys… You could waste hours! I’m sure you’ll figure out how to deal with it. Step in at 111 North Main. Click link for hours.
Continuing our candy quest up Main, the confections of Kilwins shine through glass windows in contrast to the old-time brick and wood of Mast. Kilwins Chocolates, Fudge, and Ice Cream - name kind of says it all. They do double duty for the ice cream category as well! Last time I hopped through the door my friends and I spent the first 10 minutes saying “Oooh look at that!”. Indoor foodie version of sightseeing! Something for everyone in your crew! Gaze in awe like a four-year-old at 220 Main Street. Open later than most. Click link for hours.
Ah, Chocolate! Our next destination begins to stray in to the baked good zone. The Chocolate Shoppe. They have cookies! Made fresh hourly. And truffles, barks, molded chocolates… They of course make items to order. Making Greenville sweeter since 1979. All waiting patiently for you at 1392 N Pleasantburg Dr. Click link for hours.
Sauntering over to 401 Augusta we arrive at Vaughn-Russell Candy Kitchen, a handmade Greenville gem since 1950. Newly reopened in a new location after a touch and go season when their old building was purchased for tear down. Their trademark item is the chocolate Mint Pecan, made from mammoth Georgia pecans. They also have classic assortments (peanut butter creams, toffees…) and will personalize chocolates while you wait! Their little elves are filling orders for folks far and wide all year long. But there are still items you can only get in person so go breathe in the perfume! Open Tues - Sat 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
If dessert in Greenville means baked treats to you, we have plenty of options! We will stick to a short list here but there are plenty more to explore.
The Chocolate Moose is now located inside M. Judson Booksellers (two of our favorite things in one place!). Known for their cupcakes and cake pops, which you can pair with a fancy coffee and enjoy at the cafe tables in the cozy bookstore. Order cupcakes in three different sizes by the dozen for your events. Don't forget the chocolate "moose" pie, or salted caramel banana pudding. Have fun choosing at 130 S Main st. Click link for hours and menu.
Fasten your seat belts, resistance is futile when you enter the Buttercream Bakehouse. They are ready for you, and your gifting and event needs. Known for buttercream artistry in specialty cakes, they also have Pastry (capital P), like cannolis... and breads, plus tables and chairs so you don't have to wait to dive in. Just a few blocks from the center of downtown at 801 Buncombe St. Check link for hours.
The Bakery Off Augusta is frankly, adorable. Classic and cozy it is just off Augusta at 11 Sevier St. They make it all with flair and fun. Owned by European baker Connie Jud, they make Irish soda bread, fruitcakes, King Cakes, and pies, a host of pastries and custom cakes and cookies. A favorite for neighborhood children as well. No excuses necessary. Click link for hours.
Oh, so you like your baked goods French, you say? Mais oui! Bienvenue and right this way, to Legrand Bakery at 1818 Augusta. They have your tarts, eclair, l'opéra, mousse... and gorgeous breads. You don't even have to pronounce them correctly! We're just friendly like that over dessert in Greenville. Revel in the flaky, buttery layers. Click link for hours.
Then there’s Cakes By U. You’ve at least heard of the ceramic cafes? It’s like that, but with cake. Come with friends, with kids, and decorate your own cakes and cupcakes. Parties, girls night out (with wine), company team building… (also with wine?) Make memories with frosting! Sounds delicious to me! Bring your creativity to 637 Congaree Rd Suite A. Click the link for hours, events, particulars.
Strossner’s is not kidding around… but kids will be happy here! They are also a cafe where you can eat dessert before or after breakfast or lunch. American bakery classics as well as traditional German offerings. All can be ordered for events, of course. Italian Cream Cake, Key Lime Pound Cake, Lemon Torte… pastry, cookies, breads… If you happen to be reading this before 12/12/2016 you can go to the Gingerbread House Decorating Workshop, big fun! No one will be disappointed here. Bring the family to 21 Roper Mountain Road. Click link for hours.
Just Donuts/Doughnuts/Fried Dough
Perhaps you’ve heard, Greenville has an obsession with gourmet donuts. Yes, we have Krispy Kreme and Dunkin'. But you don’t need this rabbit’s help finding any of those anywhere in the country. The first darling of Instagrammers in Greenville was The Donut Experiment at 2123 Augusta Rd. Daily photos of made-to-order donuts with toppings like fruity pebbles, bacon, and various crumbled candy bars had us worn down and driving over for a dozen in 72 hours or less. If you fancy a delectable donut, do-nut wait that long! Click link for hours.
Then there is/was Circa Doughnut, a pop up shop. Fried dough aficionados in Greenville need to stay frosty to keep up with where to find these outrageously delicious morsels from day to day and week to week. Many breathlessly await Circa’s return… Enter GB&D - Golden Brown and Delicious. We hope you are here to stay! In the West Village at 1269 Pendleton St. they are primarily a lunch restaurant but their donuts are getting a lot of press. GB&D is only open Tues - Sat 11:30 - 2 p.m. but their donuts can consistently be found across the street at the Village Grind coffee house. Sometimes they open for dinner hours too… I’m a grey-whiskered rabbit; I can’t keep up with these millennials! My strategy: show up for lunch - it is out of this world - get the scoop on the next batch of fried dough. Click the links (all Instagram) to find out where donuts will strike next. Happy hunting!
Now, our friends at the Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery deserve a mention here because they also turn out baked goodies every day, carry artisan candies, and are taking holiday orders as I write. They are in this section because they are notable for offering both GF and Vegan doughnuts. Yup! So if that’s what you seek find them at 205 Cedar Lane Rd. Click link for hours and events.
Somebody slap me! Funneldelicious has a list of deep fried treats no rational person could imagine. Start with the funnel cakes in several different sizes, tons of toppings, and you can top it off with a side of fried Kool-Aid Balls and a basket of spiralcut ribbon fries. Greenville's guilty pleasure that one will rarely admit to. Now why don't these jeans fit?!?! Wear your stretchy pants to 155 Augusta and say hi to Mrs. Paula because you know you'll be back. Click the link for hours.
Bet you thought I’d never get to this category! Again many ice cream and fro-yo places around town but staying focused on the highlights and hyper locals. Beginning with Spill the Beans, this coffee house and ice cream bar is a fun place to wind up an evening out or drop in during a stroll around Falls Park. The scent of hot waffle cones on the griddle will waft toward you upon entry. Choose your basic flavors and add all the mix-ins to your heart’s content. Lots of seating options to choose from. Try not to salivate in line at 531 S Main. Click link for hours.
Holding down a lily pad at 624 S main is the Blueberry Frog for frozen yogurt. Prepared fresh daily, in house. It’s even organic! I feel healthier already - and so welcome! Hopping permitted, even encouraged. Click the link for hours and other local locations.
Luna Rosa for gelato (they have paninis and pastas too). We’ve raved about this place before - because it is an elegant spoonful of heaven. If gelato is your thing you WILL find joy here. Try not to fog up or fingerprint the glass at 9 W Washington half a block off Main. Open for lunch and dinner 7 days. Click link for hours.
We have a Marble Slab Creamery. Posted here because it’s downtown at 108 N Main and has a line out the door on weekends - and your kids might not let you rest unless you go there. All the yumminess you expect from the cold slab ice cream shop. Click the link for hours.
The Pickwick Pharmacy has a 1940s style soda fountain that has been in operation in its current location since 1947. Restored in 2007, you can jitterbug on in for an ice cream experience from days of yore. Can’t beat the ambiance from a dark blue barstool. Thirty flavors of ice cream and a lunch menu straight out the 40s should make for a fun outing.
Speaking of soda fountains and bars. How about the more adult version - a soda fountain with a bar? Grill Marks has burgers yes, but the boozy malts and shakes and… whateverthoseare, are the stuff that dreams are made of. Open into the night it can be a perfect end to a festive day. Bring your thirst to 209 S Main. Click link for hours.
Did any of that hit the spot? Is your tongue an interesting color? I'm ready for a long winter's nap... If I can come down from this sugar high! Isn't it fun finding holiday treats in Greenville?! Remember to share!