When it comes to winter desserts, there’s no place for raw cheesecakes, chia puddings or—God forbid—fruit platters. Just no. An Auckland winter calls for rich, decadent winter desserts, soft-centred and self-saucing, pumped full of molten chocolate, swimming in a pool of cream and caramel. We’ve eaten our way around town to bring you Auckland’s best winter desserts. Grab a spoon and dig in.
Banoffee Dumplings And Steamed Chocolate Buns From XuXu Dumpling Bar
If you've never had one of XuXu's banoffee dumplings, you're missing out. These heavenly morsels are ideal for tucking into on a cold winter's night—arriving at the table still steaming, and stuffed with a mouthwatering mixture of banana and salted caramel that's so good, it'll have you wondering why on earth there are not more of these hybrid treats out there. If after chowing down on a bowl of these babies, your sweet tooth still isn't satisfied, fear not—XuXu is also the home of chocolate steamed buns. These fluffy treats are equally delicious—and equally unconventional—combining the traditional bao with a gooey, double-chocolate centre that'll have you feeling all kinds of cosy. Keen to see more? Check out how these bad boys are made right here.
Apple Strudel From The Bavarian
Julie Andrews sang about it being one of her favourite things—now thanks to The Bavarian, it's quite possibly one of ours too. What are we talking about, exactly? Apple strudel, the traditional Austrian dessert that's largely escaped our attention until stumbling across this drool-worthy version, combining delicately spiced caramelised apple with beautiful crisp pastry, a sprinkling of walnut dust, and a good ol' dollop of vanilla ice cream. Our only regret? Not knowing about it sooner. No wonder it makes our list of the best winter desserts in Auckland.
Sticky Date Pudding From Prego
Ain’t no restaurant more classic than Prego and ain’t no dessert more classic than Prego’s sticky date pudding. Going by the name of “dolce di datteri” on the menu, the signature dessert features a generous slice of rich, moist cake drowned in hot caramel sauce. The cake is then perfectly complemented with vanilla-poached pears and homemade ginger ice cream. This winter pud will warm you from the inside out.
Choc Pot From The Blue Breeze Inn
Leading the pack in the winter dessert scene is none other than the choc pot at The Blue Breeze Inn. Dig into the chocolate fondant pudding and you’ll find a perfectly gooey lava centre that will make your heart jump with joy. What really gives this dish the X factor is the addition of rhubarb (a winter classic), coffee syrup and a big ol’ scoop of chocolate ganache on the top. This bad boy is not for the faint-hearted. In short: proceed with caution.
Crème Brûlée From Ostro
One of life’s greatest pleasures is cracking into the hard caramel layer of a crème brûlée. Get your fix at Britomart’s Ostro with their vanilla crème brûlée dessert offering. The rich and velvety custard dessert is topped with strawberry daiquiri sorbet and decorated with an edible flower. It’s oh-so tasty and oh-so Instagramable.
Baked Cookie Dough From Big Fish Eatery
Baked cookie dough, people. It’s a thing and Big Fish Eatery has it mastered. Feast on pork belly gao bao, karaage chicken and sashimi at this Asian eatery before tackling their not-so-traditional cookie dough offerings. Choose between white chocolate with macadamia or dark chocolate with peanut butter (our favourite), and brace yourself for a piping hot skillet of goodness topped with vanilla ice cream. Heck yes.
Hazelnut Praline Chocolate Fondant From Jervois Steak House
These guys know how to make a mean steak, and a mean dessert as it turns out. Their take on the classic choccy fondant is off-the-charts delicious, and just begging to be devoured—rewarding the diner with a river of molten chocolate that's as satisfying to watch as it is to eat. A dessert this good could easily be served on its own, but this is Jervois Steak House, after all—so they've amped up the deliciousness by adding caramel popcorn, dulce de leche and a scoop of four berry ice cream. Yummmmm.
DIY S'mores From The Garden Shed
Because surely the next best thing to toasting marshmallows over an actual campfire is toasting them tableside, especially come winter. And that's exactly what's in store when you order The Garden Shed's DIY S'mores. This epic dessert is the definition of hands-on, providing you with a platter of housemade graham crackers (a type of American biscuit), vanilla marshmallow and chocolate ganache that you must sandwich together and then toast over an open flame (presented in a pot plant, no less). Boom.
Waffles From House Of Chocolate Dessert Cafe
Whoever said waffles were a breakfast-only dish clearly hasn't visited House of Chocolate. Available most days until late, their Liege-style treats are the stuff dessert dreams are made of (technically speaking, it's a vanilla bean, honey and caramelised pearl sugar batter). These toasty creations are especially welcome in the winter, and are available in 10 epic flavours including our current fave—bourbon, butterscotch and pecan. Loaded with vanilla ice cream, caramelised pecans, housemade vanilla fudge chunks and a slathering of bourbon butterscotch sauce, we're salivating at the thought.
Anything And Everything From The Pie Piper
K' RD AND EASTRIDGE
The Pie Piper know a thing or two about comforting winter pies. You’re spoilt for choice with flavours such as chocolate peanut butter, blueberry and bourbon pecan. The best part? They’re all handmade with love—and it shows. Our winter fave would have to be their classic cherry offering—one slice is NEVER enough. Eat all the pie.
Image credit: Xuxu Dumpling Bar, The Bavarian, The Blue Breeze Inn, Big Fish Eatery, The Garden Shed