Sweet spots - St. Petersburg's best confectioners

Candies, pastries, and chocolates play an important role in Russian social rituals, so it can be a disappointment to discover that much of the confectionery on sale in St. Petersburg stores and cafes is of rather inferior quality, with margarine and refined sugar the key ingredients. Seek a little further, however, and you can find some superb and truly original sweet treats with a hint of the city's Tsarist past.

Great confectionery is a decadent art and a thoroughly bourgeois indulgence, so perhaps it's no surprise that this particular culinary tradition was largely neglected during the Soviet era, and of course further degraded by the deprivations that St. Petersburg and the whole country suffered for much of the 20th century. In recent years, nonetheless, lost confectioners' skills are being revived and others adopted from abroad, providing the sweet-toothed visitor with plenty of delights to discover in St. Petersburg.

If you're visiting someone at home in St. Petersburg and ask your host what to bring, the answer is likely to be "Chto-nibud k chayu" - "something to go with tea". So, apart from satisfying your own cravings, the list of recommended confectioners below could well prove invaluable for improving your social standing.

Selected confectioners:

Candy, Chocolate $
A specialty store offering no cookies, but instead a vast array of candies and chocolates that combine exacting standards with a love of novelty, making for some unique and memorable souvenirs.
Pastries, Cakes, Desserts $
A popular small chain of cafes that combines elegant interiors with a vast and uniformly high-quality range of pastries, cakes, desserts and handmade chocolates, all of which can easily be taken away.
Pastries, Cakes, Desserts, Russian, European $$
An attractive cafe with welcoming atmosphere and original and enticing bistro menu, Truffle also offers a wide range of traditional confectionery to take away.
Pastries, Cakes, Desserts, Russian, European $$
This artisanal confectioners serves a wide range of classic European treats such as macaroons and profiteroles, made to exacting standards and with a few deft authorial touches.