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KilwinsThe food scene in Southwest Michigan has been exploding in recent years with the addition of new restaurants, wineries and breweries. But where do locals go for sweet treats, decadent desserts and a caffeine buzz? With so many places to choose from, it’s hard to narrow down the list but here are a few of our favorites to help sweeten your stay.

Kilwins Chocolate, Fudge, and Ice Cream Shoppe in St. Joseph is first on the list because they serve up all things sweet. From freshly made Mackinac Island fudge, to giant caramel apples, homemade chocolates, caramel corn, old-fashioned malts and their Original Recipe Ice Cream, Kilwins will surely satisfy your sweet tooth. You’ll know you’re getting close when the smell of fresh waffle cones begins to fill the air.

Bistro DessertThe Bistro on the Boulevard in St. Joseph has a dedicated pastry chef who excels at creating colorful and delicious pastries and desserts. French macarons are a specialty and are available in unique seasonal flavors like candy bar (my personal favorite) and Sour Patch Kids®. They also have classic favorites like vanilla, chocolate, raspberry, and mint. Take home a mac pac after your meal to sample an assortment of six flavors. The Bistro also takes orders for custom cakes and desserts. Call 269-983-3882 for details.

Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve in Niles is well known for its beautiful gardens and trails. While here, be sure to try the desserts and fresh-baked cookies in the Fernwood Café.

Froehlich’s is a vintage-style bakery and deli in Three Oaks that serves homemade cookies, pies, muffins, fudge and cakes. If you’re lucky enough to stop in while they’re canning their preserves and jams you won’t want to leave without taking home a jar. The sweet smell alone is enough to make your mouth water.

MasonJarDessertMason Jar Café is a premier breakfast and lunch location in Benton Harbor and serves an amazing cup of coffee and such delicious desserts as salted caramel mousse cake and death by chocolate.

The Inn at Harbor Shores is home to two locations to grab a sweet treat and cup of coffee. Plank's Tavern on the Water and Rise & Vine. Sip coffee with a great view of the harbor and sink your teeth into a slice of creamy coconut cake.

Staymaker at Journeyman Distillery in Three Oaks is a tasty destination on many levels. Sip a craft cocktail (the blood orange ice cubes by themselves are a treat). Enjoy a delicious entrée (the crusts on their Detroit-style pizzas are made from their whiskey grain mash bills). Then indulge in one of their unique desserts. The “Snaggletooth Trifle” has flourless chocolate, bourbon whipped cream and an almond lace cookie and the Sticky Pretzel Bread Pudding is made with Silver Cross toffee and macerated raisins. Yum.

Tosi’s is an Italian restaurant in Stevensville known for their high-quality food and drinks. However, make sure you save room for dessert! Their Bit of Swiss cannoli cheesecake is too good to pass up.

BistroDessert2017bGrande Mere Inn, also in Stevensville, serves delicious food with a view of Lake Michigan. Their dessert menu is the cherry on top. One taste of their coconut cream pie and you’ll be wishing you could take home the whole thing!

Chocolate Garden in Coloma is known for their delicious chocolate truffles and patent-pending “Trufflelatté.” Each truffle is handmade and rolled in coarse chocolate creating a creamy irresistible texture. They have been named “Best Chocolatier is America” by America’s Best Online and “Most Ravishing Chocolatier” by Elle Magazine. However, it’s best to try them to prove the food critics right! If you can’t make it there in person, you can order online and have them shipped to you.

Another sweet resource is St. Joseph Today Welcome Center. Stop in to get directions to other sweet shops along the Lake Michigan shore. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Bit of Swiss – Stevensville
    Recommendation: Crème brûlée
  • Cabana’s - Downtown St. Joseph
    Recommendation: 93+ flavors to try (and that doesn’t include the snow cones)
  • Caffé Tosi - Downtown St. Joseph
    Recommendation: Pear tart
  • South Bend Chocolate Café - Downtown St. Joseph
    Recommendation: 6-layer chocolate cake
  • Golden Brown Bakery - Downtown St. Joseph
    Recommendation: Chocolate shortbread cookies
  • Mimi’s Cupcakes - Downtown St. Joseph
    Recommendation: choose your favorites from 36 flavors made from scratch daily
  • Yo-Bubbs Frozen Yogurt - Downtown St. Joseph
    Recommendation: Try them all!