The Hot Food List 2017: Sweets

SWEETS

CHOCOLATES

SCHOC CHOCOLATES, GREYTOWN, NEW ZEALAND

No, not Auckland. Nor Wellington, or even Christchurch. The home of New Zealand's best chocolates is the pretty village of Greytown, in the Martinborough wine region. Chocolatier Murray Langham uses Belgian techniques, a fair-trade approach to gathering the best chocolate beans from around the world, and an impressive imagination to conjure up a rich array of chocolates, from pretty pralines (try the lavender salted caramel) to tablets. The latter come in 60 different flavours, including strawberry and pink pepper, tangerine, and curry and pappadums. Our advice: buy twice as much as you think you want. You will be glad you did. See schoc.co.nz

TRADITIONAL

SHIOYOSHIKEN, KYOTO, JAPAN

Shioyoshiken is one of thousands of Japanese businesses with a history stretching back more than a century. The confectionery store, which could be mistaken for a pharmacy with its lustrous timber cabinets and tiny drawers, is near the Imperial Palace. Admire the range of wagashi (traditional sweets) that includes namagashi that poetically express the seasons. These delicate sweets serve as a counterpoint to green tea in tea ceremonies. Some are seasonal - in January, for example, flower petal mochi is a signature wagashi - while others are available year-round. Bite into a pale-pink tama-tsubaki - or round camellia - and it feels like eating a cloud. See kyogashi.com

CHOCOLATES

RAPANUI CHOCOLATES, BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA

Buenos Aires is famous for its ice cream (there's that Italian heritage thing again). Eating it is a local, if not national, pastime. Rapanui does both delicious chocolate and ice cream in beautiful salons dotted around the city with decor befitting the exquisite flavours.

Among the changing roster of ice cream types, look out for dulce de leche. It's a time-honoured treat in Buenos Aires, a caramel made by reducing condensed milk. The portenos have it in and on mostly everything. But for our money it pairs best with ice cream and the subtle balance of flavour Rapanui manages to strike. See chcolatesrapanui.com.ar

TRADITIONAL

CANELE, BORDEAUX, FRANCE

Don't leave Bordeaux without biting into a canele - a tiny caramelised fluted cake linked to the region's long wine-making history. It's said that back when winemakers used egg whites to filter wines, they'd give the yolks to nuns who in turn whipped them into these addictive, slightly chewy desserts. Try them at a Baillardran bakery outlet (there's one next to the visitors' centre at 10 Cours du 30 Juillet or at La Toque Cuivree, 41 Place Gambetta. See baillardran.com, la-toque-couvree.fr

FUSION

BANOFFEE DUMPLINGS, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Banoffee dumplings might be the strangest Anglo-Sino fusion dish ever - but who cares when they taste this good? XuXu, a dumpling bar in Auckland's downtown Britomart precinct, serves savoury dumplings (such as beef and lemongrass; fish, chilli and lime leaf; and chicken and shiitake) but sweet tooths will zoom in on the dessert dumplings. The banoffee pot-sticker is stuffed with salted caramel and banana while the choc fondant dumpling is encased in sweet potato pastry and resembles a miniature pumpkin. See xuxu.co.nz

TRADITIONAL

HALO-HALO, THE PHILIPPINES

The technicolour sundae, halo-halo, looks like something dreamed up by Willy Wonka but it's a much-loved institution in The Philippines. The name, which means "a mixture", describes multiple layers comprising cubes of nata de coco (fermented coconut-water jelly), leche flan (egg custard), macapuno (ribbons of coconut), fruit and sweet red beans at the bottom, a middle layer of milk-drenched shaved ice and the crowning glory - a scoop of ube (purple yam) ice-cream. Try it at Manila's deliciously retro Milky Way Cafe. See cafe.milkywayrestaurant.com