If all you want for Christmas is a sweet tooth

Sugar junkies should be excited that the holidays are here. Whether its cookies, cakes or candy canes, Philadelphia offers oodles of opportunities to satisfy any sweet tooth. The holiday season is one of the best

Sugar junkies should be excited that the holidays are here. Whether its cookies, cakes or candy canes, Philadelphia offers oodles of opportunities to satisfy any sweet tooth.

The holiday season is one of the best times to shop for sweets since sales are abundant and restaurants and candy shops are eager to attract new customers who will keep coming back for more.

For anyone living in or visiting Philadelphia for the holidays, a trip to Shane Candies, located at 110 Market St., is a must. Founded in 1876 and believed to be the nation’s oldest candy shop, Shane’s is conveniently located a block from the 2nd Street Market-Frankford Line subway station.

From the gorgeous front window display to the sweet smells that overwhelm the nostrils, a trip to Shane’s is like entering a holiday goodie heaven. Be sure to try the vanilla butter creams.

Naked Chocolate Cafe, at 1317 Walnut St., gives dessert enthusiasts a year-round excuse to indulge in the sweet stuff. It’s home to one of the meanest cups of hot chocolate. The cafe’s hot chocolate comes in four varieties: classic, bittersweet, aztec and spicy.

“This hot chocolate has become our signature here,” said Tom Block, who owns Naked Chocolate with his daughter, Sarah. “We make it from scratch by grinding three kinds of dark chocolate and adding some cocoa powder. It comes with a side of whipped cream and a wafer for dipping.”

Besides the legendary hot chocolate, Naked Chocolate offers assorted teas, coffees and cold drink specialties to choose from. For a rainy day, treat yourself to one of Naked

Chocolate’s soothing and visually beautiful

blooming teas. These green teas feature a dried flower that blooms in the hot water.

Beyond the hot chocolate, patrons have plenty of delectable eatables to choose from, including the nudo, Naked Chocolate’s signature

dessert, as well as a wide assortment of cupcakes, cheesecakes, and countless chocolate


“‘Nudo’ means ‘naked’ in Italian,” Block said. “We originally wanted to call the cafe ‘Nudo,’ but when we went with a different name, we decided to give it to these pyramid-shaped brownies.”

For those looking to give the gift of sweetness this holiday season, there’s Isgro Pasticceria, an Italian pastry shop known for having lines that extend well beyond the sidewalk

at the front of the store.

Located at 1009 Christian St., in the middle

of the Italian Market, Isgro’s is known for its cannoli and its cakes and pies.

Patrons also enjoy the warm relationship

with the always energetic Isgro family, who never miss an opportunity to make their customers feel special and welcome each time they walk through the door.

The family-operated shop has enjoyed a loyal network of customers for decades, but for those of us salivating from a few state boundaries away, Isgro’s offers an online ordering


Customers can place orders for cookie, torrone and biscotti gift tins on the bakery’s Web site and have them shipped anywhere in the United States.

Patrons are also encouraged to place orders as far in advance as possible, especially during the holiday season.

“Cannolis [are] the biggest seller, by far,” said Joanna Marchiano, who works behind the counter. “During the holidays, customers are waiting two hours in line before they get their order in. They go for the cannoli, the pumpkin

pies, the Napoleons, the rainbow tortes, everything.”

If all the cafes and bakeries in the city just aren’t enough, the insatiable sweet tooth junkie can make a pilgrimage to the chocolate buffet at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, located at 10 Ave. of the Arts. This weekly treat features an all-you-can-eat dessert buffet for just $24.95 per person.

From 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. every Thursday night, diners can choose from more than 20 different chocolate desserts and fruit platters. An added bonus is the chocolate fountain, which makes an appearance every so often at the lavish chocolate buffet.

“We also have a crepe station and chocolate

martinis that we feature along with the buffet for a special price,” said Jill Moyer, the Ritz-Carlton’s food and beverage manager-in-training. “My favorite is the white chocolate martini.”

From chocolate cheesecake to chocolate eclairs and beyond, this is one buffet that is worth the admission.

Marta Rusek can be reached at mrusek@temple.edu.

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