35 Tacoma-area sweet spots for Valentine’s Day – chocolates, cookies, ice cream cakes, more
Valentine’s Day 2021 won’t look like any other we’ve had before. This, of course, is the time to blow that keto diet and indulge in something fantastically carb laden. I went looking for pick-up options all over Tacoma and the far reaches of Pierce County for you. The list I’ve compiled has every kind of treat to honor your sweetie.
I’ve got a collection of handmade truffles, fudge, fancy pastries, cookies, cake-by-the-slice, cupcakes, ice cream cakes, cake pops, caramels and so many other things to blow your keto diet right out of February. Vegan? Dairy free? I’ve got options below for nearly every dietary restriction.
These are all locally owned and founded food businesses, which means you’ll be doing a solid for our local industry workers if you spend cash at these local eateries.
CHOCOLATES AND CANDIES
BROWN AND HALEY FACTORY STORES
Tacoma: 110 E. 26th St., Tacoma; 253-620-3067
Fife: 3500 20th St. E., Fife; 253-620-3030
Whether you’re all in on the typical Roca, or the fancy stuff like the sea salt caramel Roca, the Brown & Haley factory stores in Tacoma and Fife have you covered. Look for the heart-shaped tins. Have a lot of co-workers or teachers you need small gifts for? The factory store has ‘em.
4401 Industry Drive E., Fife; 253-235-4866, emilyschocolates.com
This Fife-based confection company does all kinds of magical things with dark chocolate and nuts, but did you know that Emily’s also makes outrageously good chocolate-dipped fortune cookies? The factory store in Fife is a treasure hunt for chocolates, nuts and those delightful cookies filled with themed fortunes.
JOHNSON CANDY COMPANY
924 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma; 253-272-8504, https://www.johnsoncandyco.com/
Tacoma’s Hilltop chocolate store is as old fashioned a store as candy stores get these days. If a shopper gets one thing here, make it the candy maker’s famous handmade truffles. They come in a range of flavors and are sold by-the-pound so load up and fill a heart-shaped box that the candy shop also sells. Store staff ask that you give a day’s notice for those heart-shaped boxes, though. Call ahead. There’s also hand-dipped caramels, chocolate covered candied orange peel and my favorite dark, chocolate sea salt caramels. Bonus: they also have vegan chocolates.
OLD CANNERY FUDGE COUNTER
13608 Valley Ave E., Sumner; 253-863-0422, oldcanneryfurniture.com
Veer past the couches and then wander past the reclining chairs. Right in the middle of the sprawling furniture store in downtown Sumner, there’s an old fashioned candy counter. It’s stocked with at least a dozen kinds of fudge handmade at the store. My favorite is the tiger butter, a swirl of peanut, chocolate and vanilla fudge.
610 N. First St., Tacoma; 253-327-1860, teasechocolates.com
This is the spot for the discerning chocolate lover. Tease Chocolates in the Stadium neighborhood specializes in bean-to-bar chocolate making and other artisan concoctions using carefully sourced ingredients. Right now, they’ve got blueberry, raspberry, cherry, strawberry and black currant cordials for sale, plus chocolate-dipped marshmallows, and so much more in their display case. Stock moves quickly, so don’t delay getting in there.
4500 Steilacoom Blvd SW, Lakewood, 253-589-6036, tacomaculinary.com/bon-sucre-bistro (limited hours)
Clover Park Technical College’s student-run bakery is a pastry-bargain paradise in Lakewood. It’s always a surprise what they’re baking, but the bakery display typically includes cookies, pastries and other individually portioned desserts. Limited hours, so check before you go, but typically they are open Wednesday and Thursday, 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The bakery is in the southwest corner of Building 23 on campus.
Inside Paldo World, 9701 South Tacoma Way, 253-682-3488
This French-Korean bakery operates just inside the front door of the Lakewood Korean grocery store Paldo World. The bakery specializes in packaged cookies, including macarons in at least 10 daily flavors. They stock green tea, coconut, raspberry, passionfruit and more. Also find individually portioned desserts, cream puffs and a variety of pastries.
720 E. Main St., Puyallup, 253-200-2342, britishbites.net
This downtown Puyallup British grocery store, tea cafe and bakery features a delightfully British selection of pastries. They stock shortbread cookies, banoffee tarts, mini Victoria cakes, cherry bakewell tarts, eccles cakes, flapjacks, gingersnaps and so much more. Tip: They have gluten-free items.
THE CAT & RABBITT CAKESHOP
2811 Sixth Ave., Tacoma; https://www.thecatandrabbitt.com
Longtime Tacoma bakery wizard Julia Brown teamed up with fellow X Group Catering alum Terryn Abbitt to open up a cake window inside the same building as X Group’s Pine Room Events Center. The duo are producing my absolute favorite cakes in the region. Surprise flavor enhancers boost the taste and texture of the cakes that the duo cut into fat wedges and package in environmentally-friendly boxing. If you see the berry-lime cake in the display, get it. The menu focuses on cake-by-the-slice, but they carry other pastry offerings, such as savory cheddar scones, cookies and the famous cinnamon rolls Brown used to make for Engine House No. 9’s brunch program. Get there early. They sell out every day.
CELEBRITY CAKE STUDIO
314 E. 26th St., Tacoma; 253-627-4773, celebritycakestudio.com
This Dome District bakery in Tacoma is a must visit for mini cakes and decorated cookies, but have you taken a look at their gorgeous petit fours? They’re built for Valentine’s Day gifting. Also, brownies, tea cakes and plenty of individually sized desserts in the display case.
602 Fawcett Ave., Tacoma; 253-627-5070, corinabakery.com
This St. Helens neighborhood bakery is going all out this Valentine’s Day. Owner Molly Ott described a huge selection of Valentine’s-themed desserts that includes red velvet and pink champagne cake balls, gluten-free heart-shaped macarons, dark chocolate praline truffles, gluten-free animal cookies, mini strawberry cheesecakes and vegan chocolate cake with strawberry buttercream and chocolate ganache. And there’s more. Get there early in the week because they’ll for sure sell out.
1603 Lafayette St., Steilacoom; 253-325-9822; https://delish-bakery.com
Steilacoom’s brand new bakery rotates its stock frequently so there’s always something new. It’s home to my favorite chewy brownie in Pierce County, but there’s also pretty decorated cupcakes, cake pops, cake-by-the-slice and so many cookies. Find something vegan almost every day.
3303 #B Eighth Ave. SE, Puyallup; 253-697-9486; https://www.farm12.org
Farm 12 in downtown Puyallup is a sprawling, beautiful restaurant and events center, but one of their best kept secrets is their pastry case. The almond croissants are a must, as are sticky buns, but also look for cookies, delicate pastries and the best galettes in the county. Wednesday is cake day with a new fanciful offering from Chef Hannah Russell to look forward to every week.
GERMAN PASTRY SHOP
6108 Mount Tacoma Drive SW, Lakewood, 253-588-5777
This Lakewood bakery specializes in cake-by-the-slice in a dozen-plus daily flavors available anytime, but there’s also strudel, cream-filled eclairs and many other German pastries and cookies.
1740 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, 253-383-7772, hello-cupcake.com
This downtown Tacoma cupcake emporium is known for its fanciful flavors and February always yields fun flavors. Find chocolate raspberry and Shirley Temple flavored cupcakes this month.
MARVEL BAY CAFE AND BAKERY
301 133rd St. S., Tacoma, 253-267-5159, marvelbaycafe.com
This Parkland cafe has a broad selection of European-American baked goods, as does its sister business next door, Marvel Food & Deli. At Marvel Bay Cafe, you’re doing it wrong unless you score a wedge of their Nutella-filled baklava. Also find mini Danish, chocolate truffles, biscotti and more.
1495 Wilmington Dr, DuPont; 253-302-5331; https://www.clover.com/online-ordering/mince-mercantile-dupont
This combination grocery store/specialty store/deli/bakery stocks the most delightful little sweet treasures. Themed cupcakes, hot cocoa bombs, decorated sugar cookies, brownies, blondies, macarons and more.
OLD TIMES BAKERY
3514 Pacific Ave., Tacoma; 253-625-5898
This bakery, located on the borders of the McKinley and Lincoln neighborhoods, features something unusual in Tacoma – Uruguayan pastries. Diners also will find a wide selection of European style baked goods that includes cannoli, tiramisu, madeleines, strudel, flaky pastries filled with guava or cheese and a few styles of alfajores, the national pastry treasure of Uruguay.
PASTELES FINOS DEL ANGEL
5102 S. Washington St., Tacom, 253-448-2649, https://www.pastelesfinosdelangel.com/
Think of this South Tacoma Mexican-European bakery as the area’s best destination for single-serve desserts, such as tiramisu and flan, but Valentine’s Day brings out the best in this bakery with a selection of chocolate-dipped strawberries and so much more. The bakery has secondary specialty in vegan desserts. Looking for a King Cake to double celebrate Mardi Gras and Valentine’s Day? They bake them from scratch here.
STEEPED IN COMFORT
11016 Gravelly Lake Dr SW, Lakewood; 253-582-1336; http://www.steepedincomfort.com
This Lakewood tea spot is tops for all kinds of pastry nibbles, but did you know that they make killer scones? They come in a variety of flavors, but my true love is the plain version.
3411 Harborview Dr, Gig Harbor; 253-853-6220; https://www.susannesbakery.net/index.html
Find all kinds of individually-portioned desserts, plus cakes and pies at this Gig Harbor bakery and cafe. Don’t miss the decorated sugar cookies if they’re available.
925 Market St., Tacoma; 253-342-8539; https://www.facebook.com/uniquebakerydessert
This downtown Tacoma bakery is brand new, but longtime pastry buffs will know the owners who formerly ran La Waffletz in Freighthouse Square. This new bakery is one of the most exciting bakery openings in years because Unique Bakery offers French pastries that are in short supply here. The bakery stock typically includes kouign-amann, pain au chocolat, pain au raisins, eclairs, cream puffs, almond croissants, fruit tarts, a wide selection of macarons and Danish pastries with myriad fruit fillings. Get there early. They sell out.
2102 E. Main St., Puyallup; 253-256-5566; wannacupcake.com
This downtown Puyallup bakery carries the broadest selection of cupcakes in East Pierce County, but also stocks scones, muffins and a nice selection of gluten-free cookies. The Valentine’s Day selection includes decorated sugar cookies, chocolate-dipped strawberries, hot cocoa bombs and more.
These bakeries don’t have retail spaces open to the public, but they specialize in direct sales and other methods that include home delivery.
Bite Me Cookies are made in a Lakewood cookie factory owned by Deb Tuggle, who founded her company 20 years ago in the Hilltop neighborhood. Outstanding ingredients. She uses Belgian chocolate. You can order her cookies on her website or through Grub Hub if you are in Lakewood. https://bitemeinc.cc/
Bon Appetina’s is a Fife custom bakery that is a destination for customized cookies and cake pops. http://www.bonappetinas.com/
Cookie Crumbs Homemade Treats specializes in hand decorated sugar cookies that are among the cutest I’ve seen in the area. https://cookiecrumbskim.com/
Girl Loves Cake Desserts in Lakewood has a wide selection of macarons and the flavors are highly imaginative. Find unexpected flavor pairings and even a line of cereal- themed macarons. https://www.facebook.com/girllovescakedesserts/
Spilled Butter Desserts in Tacoma’s Oakland neighborhood makes custom cakes, cookies, pies and more. Look for pop-up bakery event announcements on social media. https://www.spilledbutterdesserts.com/
The Art of Crunch in Tacoma are the wizards of biscotti, but also specialize in cookie bars and a wide variety of individually portioned desserts. http://theartofcrunch.com/
The Rolling Pin does keto! Low carb! Dairy free! Customizable baked goods for extreme dietary restrictions – get to know this bakery if your Valentine has food allergies. https://www.therollingpinbakes.com/
The Vintage Baker sells huge sugar cookies with pink frosting, which are the gateway drug for this wholesale bakery that also sells remarkable pies. https://www.facebook.com/thevintagebakerpuyallup/
Woodland Sunrise is currently operating out of Harbor General Store, but you can get delivery from this Gig Harbor bakery, as well. The decorated cookies are little pieces of art. https://www.woodlandsunrisenw.com/
ICE CREAM TREATS
Bliss Small Batch Creamery
3556 Market Pl W, University Place; 253-327-1061; https://www.icecreambliss.com/
This University Place ice cream spot specializes in dishes of ice cream made in their Fircrest production facility, but did you also know they sell custom ice cream cakes and frozen novelty treats?
Gabe’s Ice Cream
11012 Canyon Rd E #5, Puyallup; 253-507-5184; https://www.gabes-icecream.com/
This ice cream shop specializes in Philadelphia style ice cream that is egg-free, plus many flavors are gluten-free. Located in Summit, the shop has both straightforward and fancy flavors.
Ice Cream Social
5107 Main St, A, Ruston; 253-507-5448; https://www.icecreamsocialtacoma.com/
Head down to Point Ruston for pints of fancy ice creams. February flavors include orange chocolate chip, matcha, sunflower butter chocolate chip, mocha, grapefruit sorbet (gluten free/vegan) and raspberry sorbet (gluten free/vegan).