Life’s too short to suffer through bad dessert. In this article, let’s explore why handcrafted desserts deserve a spot in your regular after-dinner (or date night) schedule and offer tips for sourcing artisanal desserts.
What’s the Difference, Exactly?
First, let’s define what we mean by “handcrafted desserts” since the designation can appear hazy at first glance. “Handcrafted” is a word with several complementary synonyms: artisan, bespoke, craft, etc. All of these words point to what makes handcrafted desserts so special: a human touch, an emphasis on quality over quantity, and a willingness to take risks.
Compare that to the alternative – mass-produced desserts – which often never see a human hand, prioritize high volume outputs over finicky quality concerns, and generally play it safe in the flavour department. While mass-produced products skate by on corn syrups, milk powder and artificial flavours, handcrafted desserts take the high road.
Why Choose Artisanal Desserts Over the Alternative?
If the section above didn’t convince you, let’s unpack those points to explore why handcrafted desserts outshine the alternatives. Here are just a few reasons:
- They Support Local Farmers and Artisans: Quality handcrafted dessert makers often look to their immediate landscape for inspiration. They buy farm-fresh dairy from local farmers, fruits from local suppliers, etc. In this way, choosing bespoke desserts over mass-produced ones supports a thriving local economy and sustains local livelihoods.
- They Tap into Long Traditions: Handcrafted dessert makers hone their craft according to long traditions. An exemplary waffle or crepe maker spends years learning their method. Likewise, craft ice cream producers draw inspiration from old French, Italian, Swiss and North American artistry.
- Whole, Real Foods Trump Artificial Flavours and Extracts: Time and again, study after study demonstrates the merits of eating whole foods (like real fruit purees and farm-fresh products) over highly processed ingredients and artificial flavours. Choosing handcrafted desserts often means swapping real food for ingredients you can’t even pronounce.
- The Proof Is in The Taste: Of course, none of the points above would matter if handcrafted desserts didn’t yield a product superior in taste. But they do – big time. That scaled-down, personal touch makes a difference, as do those carefully selected quality ingredients and boundary-pushing flavour combinations. Together, these qualities combine to produce a dessert that’s everything a dessert should be – indulgent, luxurious, sophisticated, yet comforting.
Next time you feel that sweet tooth acting up, consider the arguments above. For a few extra dollars (yes, handcrafted desserts do cost more), you can enjoy better flavours, realer products and a richer history.
Sourcing Handcrafted Desserts
Where do you find handcrafted desserts? Instead of driving to the local grocery store, turn the car around and find a local dessert shop or restaurant. The best example of a dessert purveyor that meets the criteria above (and more) is Demetres in Toronto. The popular group of dessert restaurants, founded in 1989, has refused to cut corners in its 35 years of business. They still source local farm-fresh milk, top-tier Belgian chocolate, Madagascar vanilla and a bevy of fresh fruits, nuts and other whole ingredients. They’re the gold standard for handcrafted desserts; if you find yourself in Toronto, check them out.
Otherwise, a good way to proceed is to look at the labels or menu descriptions online before you buy. If you see whole ingredients, exciting flavour combinations and an “about us” section that emphasizes supporting local, you know you’re in good hands.