The moment you step in, sweet smells of sugar and chocolate overwhelm you as you stare in awe at glass cases displaying rows of colorful treats intricately designed that look almost too pretty to eat — almost. An éclair, sprinkled with just the right amount of powdered sugar and filled with green tea custard, is set before you — a pretty pastry to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Moments like this are feasible for visitors to Pâtisserie Sadaharu AOKI in Tokyo, where Japanese pastry chef Sadaharu Aoki makes cross-cultural creations, like macarons filled with Earl Gray cream and “Japanese s’mores” made of marshmallow cream, thin chocolate wafers, and azuki red beans.
Sticky cinnamon buns, torte cakes, salted caramel cronuts, and banana split waffles are among the delights available to customers at some of the world’s most famous pastry shops. It’s no wonder treats like these are so widely beloved. In the United States alone, over 173,000 people are employed as bakers; the largest percentage of them resides in California. We’ve compiled 12 of the most famous pastry shops worldwide; every one of which is worth stopping by, even if you’re only in the city for a 24-hour layover.
At Adriano Zumbo in Australia, you can taste Zumbo’s 40 shades of zumbarons — what pastry chef Adriano Zumbo calls his colorful macarons — including, you better believe it, a “Vegemite on Toast” zumbaron. Pierre Poilâne’s pâtisserie (the name for a French pastry shop) in Paris, is famous for its “Punitions,” which are small butter cookies that pair perfectly with tea or coffee. Valhallabageriet, a small pastry shop in Sweden with seating for just about eight people, is said to serve possibly the best cardamom bun around. It’s baked with sweet dough, flavored with fresh ground cardamom, and smothered with butter and cream. And in New York City, Momofuku Milk Bar is a pastry shop on the forefront of delicious innovation. The shop is never afraid to push the limits on ingredients, even using passion fruit in a chocolate chip cake.
Read on for 12 of the most famous pastry shops around the world and learn why they’re so popular.
Additional Reporting by Haley Willard