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Valentine’s Day Desserts: Sweets for you know who

Strawberry cake from Piece of Cake (all photos by Becky Stein)

Strawberry cake from Piece of Cake (all photos by Becky Stein unless otherwise noted)

My true love was thrilled with the heart-shaped strawberry layer cake I ordered from Piece of Cake. Her big, brown eyes widened when I placed it on the kitchen counter, cut it open and passed out slices of the moist, delicious pink pastry.

Review by John Kessler

Review by John Kessler

Then, when I wasn’t looking, she knocked it off the counter, hunched over the splattered mess and licked the entire thing off the floor.

Yeah, sometimes love bites. And slobbers. And chases the cat into the basement.

Come Valentine’s Day, my true love — a Lab mix named Tessa — will be sleeping in the doghouse. My wife and I might consider dinner out in a restaurant. Many of the city’s top restaurants are serving special Valentine’s Day menus. As is often the case on Cupid’s special day, the most exciting courses of these meals are dessert.

So, shall we cut to the chase?

Before you make your reservations, consider the desserts being served around town at these restaurants:


The Midtown restaurant has a dessert special that should be called “Call a cab, get a room.” Three different sparkling wines pair with three cream-filled profiteroles: J. Vineyards Cuvee Brut with a rose petal and pistachio cream filling, Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut Rose sparkling wine with milk chocolate mousse filling, and Piper Heidsieck Demi-Sec Cuvee Sublime with a tangerine crème brûlée.

565 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-835-1410

Piece of Cake

It is almost tempting to eat at home, just to replace the incredibly delicious indulgence of strawberry cake — a popular flavor that the local bakery chain trots out at special times during the year. The moist cake and sweet frosting taste all the better for the strawberry jam, with its crunchy seeds, that separate the layers. It will be available at all three Piece of Cake locations.

10971 Crabapple Road, Roswell. 770-643-4999; 3215 Roswell Road, Atlanta. 404-351-2253; 307-A E. College Ave., Decatur, 404-378-8585

"Sarah Bernhardt" at Aria (Credit: George Sanchez Photography)

"Sarah Bernhardt" at Aria (Credit: George Sanchez Photography)


Pastry chef Kathryn King will prepare a chocolate sampler — the “Sarah Bernhardt” no less — with all kinds of goodies at this Buckhead fine-dining favorite. Milk chocolate caramel, a “cool and crunchy” bar, raspberry pâté de fruit, Valrhona chocolate sauce, chocolate meringue and bittersweet chocolate ice cream are a few of the items chosen to evoke the spirit of the great actress.

490 E. Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta. 404-233-7673

Grace 1720

Things heat up at this elegant Norcross restaurant, named for a Bible verse. Owner-chef Barbara DiJames will prepare a milk chocolate pie with pretzel crust and a chili-spiced caramel sauce. Sweet, salty and a little hot.

5155 Peachtree Parkway, Norcross. 678-421-1720

Cheesecake at Kozmo Gastro Pub

Cheesecake at Kozmo Gastro Pub

Kozmo Gastro Pub

The matching-libation theme shows up at Alpharetta’s smart and popular Kozmo Gastro Pub. A thick slab of orange-chili cheesecake comes with drizzles of caramel sauce and an espresso martini shot on the side.

11890 Douglas Road, Alpharetta. 678-526-6094

4th & Swift

When chocolate speaks with a French accent, that’s amour. The Manjari chocolate cremeux is a rich, glossy, layered wedge served with all kinds of sauce, ice cream and one of those cool-looking squiggly thingamajigs made from spun sugar. But, you know you had her at “cremeux.”

621 North Ave., Atlanta. 678-904-0160


Pastry chef Lisa Smith lightens the mood and prepares a couple of special desserts appropriate to the Buckhead restaurant’s Asian fusion menu. Consider these: rose panna cotta with strawberry sorbet and strawberry salad or a passion fruit/blood orange baked Alaska.

3455 Peachtree Road, Atlanta. 404-237-9070

Livingston Restaurant + Bar

The restaurant in the Georgian Terrace Hotel will serve chocolate ganache dumplings with caramel consommé and something called orange blossom aroma. Hey, if your dessert’s wearing perfume, you know it’s pretty fancy stuff.

659 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-897-5000

Veni Vidi Vici

Nothing spells romance like, you know, pizza for dessert. Pastry chef Libby Muldawer makes the most intriguing Valentine’s dessert ever — a puff-pastry pizza topped with organic strawberry jam, fresh berries, stracchino, fontina and mascarpone cheeses and aged balsamic. Viva Italia! Hold the anchovies!

41 14th St., Atlanta. 404-875-8424


Love means never having to say you’re finished. So this Inman Park bistro is going with “small bite desserts” — little bitty things you can eat one after the other — warm fudge tart, coconut cream pie, carrot cake, peaches with mascarpone crema and pecans, lemon curd cheesecake and…

… Honey, should we get the check?

471 N. Highland Ave., Atlanta. 404-525-3363

10 comments Add your comment

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jenny Turknett, John Kessler. John Kessler said: Valentine’s Day Desserts: Sweets for you know who [...]

[...] Valentine’s Day Desserts: Sweets for you know who [...]


February 4th, 2011
3:00 pm

I had an event at VVV and that was the pizza that they served – FANTASTIC!

Polly Pocket

February 4th, 2011
5:35 pm

Yo girl what up!!!!!!! Or dude… whateva you are

Dunwoody Dawg

February 4th, 2011
8:46 pm

EVERYTHING at the Dogwood is good. I’ve already made my Valentine’s reservations…

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by marniesheia, Jessica Thomas. Jessica Thomas said: Valentine’s Day Desserts: Sweets for you know who [...]


February 6th, 2011
4:09 pm

That strawberry cake must taste good. It looks like it was decorated by a Publix flunkie. Atrocious.


February 7th, 2011
11:09 am

It looks good enough for Tessa! And obviously tastes good enough too. John, I hope you find it in your *heart* to get her out of the doghouse this Valentine’s Day:-)

[...] on Valentine`s Day? We get it. Here`s what Livingston Restaurant + Bar Chef Zeb Stevenson tells the Atlanta Journal Constitution`s John Kessler is on the menu for this Valentine`s Day: Chocolate ganache dumplings with caramel consomme and [...]


February 9th, 2011
3:28 am

John, something has to be done about all these non-seasonal desserts on Valentine’s each year. What is wrong with blood oranges if people really think they can’t live without a red dessert? Can we please leave all the strawberries and raspberries to the spring and summer? I find it offensive that one must use such inferior fresh produce this time of year just to have something red on this holiday. Please stop endorsing this insanity; this is why the molten chocolate cake and creme brulees never come off menus here in Atlanta. If you want us Chefs to step up our game here, then you must also follow through as well with your articles. Please use your powers for good and educate them. I, for one, am extremely tired of getting comments from guests asking where the creme brulee is on my menu. I’m sure other Pastry Chefs are also sick of the traditional berry “red” Valentine’s dessert……Please….April is around the corner, we can eat strawberries till they come out of our ears then.