Buenos Aires native Marcelo Kreindel missed his homeland’s gelato so much, he left his job at a Houston software company to make the frozen treat full-time in 2005. Today Trentino Gelato supplies many of Houston’s favorite restaurants with gelatos and sorbets, and Kreindel has worked with some of the city’s best chefs to create flavors such as Sparrow Bar chef/owner Monica Pope’s Mascarpone with Berries and Indika chef/owner Anita Jaisinghani’s Saffron Spice. You can pick up a pint yourself at places like The Fresh Market and Phoenicia.
Jody Stevens is Houston’s go-to gluten-free baker of birthday cakes for a good reason: you’d never guess anything was missing. Nearly all of her cakes and cupcakes can also be made vegan and/or organic, and alongside the standards you’ll find unusual flavor combos like cardamom spice cake and chocolate chili cake. There’s no storefront for now, but Stevens takes orders online or by phone.
Once only available in a handful of grocery stores, Fat Cat Creamery now has its very own ice cream shop in the Heights (which has been packed ever since its December opening). The signature ice creams—including Mexican vanilla and strawberry buttermilk—are made with just a few simple ingredients, all of them locally sourced. Specialty flavors crop up with each new season. Look for the cardboard-clad pints of ice cream at stores such as Relish Fine Foods and Mercantile.
You can try telling people you baked them yourself; the home-style pies from Flying Saucer are as good as (or better than) homemade. And like the ones that come from your oven, they’re preservative-free and made with fresh eggs and fruit. Lines wrap around the block for pecan and mincemeat pies during the holidays, but we prefer enjoying Flying Saucer’s peach and strawberry cream pies in the spring and summer months.
Making macarons at home is a nearly impossible task in Houston (thanks, humidity!). Let the pros at Petite Sweets handle all your delicate French cookie needs: their macarons come in a rainbow of flavors, each and every one of them perfect.
If you love desserts but don’t love feeling weighed down or sugar-saturated afterward, check out the Chinese pastries at local bakeries such as Six Ping. Generally much less dense and sugary than their Western counterparts, the soft green tea-flavored cakes, airy mango cakes, and elegant mocha cakes are both beautiful to behold and delicious to devour.
Le Cordon Bleu-trained pastry chef Rebecca Masson just secured the funds to finally open a storefront of her very own. In the meantime, you can snag her famous Fluffernutters, homemade Oreos, Moonpies, Hobnobs, and Snickerdoodles at places like Revival Market, Eatsie Boys, and Southside Espresso.
Michael Savino has been making the city’s favorite all-butter cookies since 2006, from shortbread and biscotti to simple chocolate chip and sugar cookies. You’d think the CIA-trained chef used a secret formula for his best-selling cookies, but the only secret is all-natural ingredients.