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America's 7 Best Cities For Sweet Tooths

Among the winners, we found a dizzying list of temptations.
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TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY VERONIQUE DUPONT Cupcakes on display at the Magnolia Bakery February 19, 2010 at Rockefeller Center in New York.  The cupcake, a small, round cake that fits in the cup of a hand, has replaced bed-and-breakfasts and restaurants as the eldorado for entrepreneurs, with some of the boldest eyeing conquests abroad.  A traditional dessert in America, the cupcake is nothing new, but in recent years it has morphed into a must-have gourmet treat, popularized in part when a heroine on the trend-setting television series 'Sex and the City' ate one in a 2000 episode. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY VERONIQUE DUPONT Cupcakes on display at the Magnolia Bakery February 19, 2010 at Rockefeller Center in New York. The cupcake, a small, round cake that fits in the cup of a hand, has replaced bed-and-breakfasts and restaurants as the eldorado for entrepreneurs, with some of the boldest eyeing conquests abroad. A traditional dessert in America, the cupcake is nothing new, but in recent years it has morphed into a must-have gourmet treat, popularized in part when a heroine on the trend-setting television series 'Sex and the City' ate one in a 2000 episode. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

The last time she was in New Orleans, Emily Luchetti went out of her way to enjoy a famous dessert. Not the Bananas Foster at Brennan's, nor the Baked Alaska at Antoine's. "I went to Hansen's Sno-Bliz," says the James Beard Award-winning pastry chef from San Francisco's Park Tavern, who chose a coffee-and-satsuma-orange snow cone at the 1939 birthplace of the shaved ice machine. "I stood in line for 45 minutes. It was worth every second."

Like Luchetti, many Travel+Leisure readers seem to feel that letting the good times roll in the Crescent City means ordering more dessert. As part of the magazine's America's Favorite Places survey, readers ranked 38 cities on a variety of sweet-tooth-friendly venues: bakeries, chef-driven restaurants, brunch spots, diners, and pastry-and-bonbon-filled gourmet markets.

Among the winners, we found a dizzying list of temptations--like the famed beignets and pralines in New Orleans, an all-you-can-eat chocolate buffet in Boston, or the marshmallow-filled caramels in Louisville, first created in the 19th century to woo an international actress.

Indeed, Luchetti can justify her indulgences in the name of culture. In New Orleans, she says, when you enjoy one of the city's iconic desserts, "you are part of a history, and a long food culture."

She adds one other important rationale: "I try to walk to as many places as possible," she says, "to burn off the calories."

America's Best Cities for Sweet Tooths


--By Katrina Brown Hunt

America's Best Food Cities