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Overseas and Off-Campus Programs Blog

Desserts of Dublin!

  • Lovely display at Queen of Tarts
    Lovely display at Queen of Tarts

Author Name

Isabel Forbes

Author Program

Ireland: Social Sciences

Program Semester and Year

Spring 2019

Student Major


My sweet tooth is heredity. I would like to give a big thanks to my mother for always keeping our house fully stocked with fresh baked goods when I was growing up. I wouldn’t be the woman I am today without you. Anyway, I feel it my duty to bequeath my ongoing list of the best sweet treats in Dublin to the world.

First of all, vending machines. I would not call myself a vending machine connoisseur, especially in the States. However, the new and ~exciting~ options presented to me in the machines at Dublin Business School where we attend classes have sent me on an adventure to sample each snack I don’t recognize (minus ones involving peanuts). So far, the Haribo Tangfastics and the Cadbury Snacks! are the two front runners. I’m always a fan of sour gummies, and the Haribo package has the added bonus of an eclectic mix of choices from sour coke bottles to cherries. It’s only drawback is that it’s the most expensive item in the machines, ringing in a 1.60 euros. Milk chocolate is a very mediocre product in my opinion, but I grew up on Cadbury hot chocolate and it continues to be on my watch list. Their Snacks! are shortcake biscuit squares covered with milk chocolate. A pack, only 1.10 euros, contains four of the small yet delicious bits which have a delicate balance of buttery cookie and smooth, sweet chocolate.

On the topic of biscuits, I would be off to an absolutely horrible start to my food blogging career if I didn’t mention the holy grail of cookies in Ireland, Digestives. With a name like that, and in their unassuming, and may I say, frankly ugly packaging that make them look like the skinniest, lumpiest roll of paper towels you’ve ever bought, it’s almost a shock how absurdly scrumptious they are. Their visual layout: a circular base biscuit made up of a slightly grainy, dark wheat base that could be likened to a graham cracker covered on one flat side with a dark chocolate layer. Growing up, these addictive cookies were a staple of my family when were were anywhere in Europe, and I cannot say that my tastes have changed. An evening routine of an episode of Brooklyn 99 (on IE Netflix!) can quickly end half a package later being full of sweet, sweet regret. We have also learned that they are vegan!?! At 69 cents a pack in our nearest Lidl’s, this is a habit that none of us are soon to break.

Onto my favorite, dessert dining experiences! Halfway between two of our college’s buildings is the Metro Cafe, which, with its red awnings, wooden folding tables, and ridged emerald cushioned seats, is pulled straight from 1920’s Paris. We have found that their pastries, including scones and croissants are top notch and served by friendly faces. Some of us (Katie) swear by their chai lattes with oat milk. My favorite is the pain au chocolat, which is served warm, with a dusting of powdered sugar.

So far, my absolute, no-doubt-about-it, favorite sweet has been the chocolate fudge cake at Queen of Tarts, a cafe and patisserie famed for their broad variety of desserts. They have two locations that are within a few blocks of each other. The main location is fairly large and often has a line of people waiting for a turn to be seated. The second, smaller location is on Dame St, right across from Dublin City Hall, and seats twenty people max, yet I almost never have a problem getting a table. It’s furnished with mismatched chairs and the tables garnished with glass bottles and fresh flowers. I feel at home, surrounded by other people vivaciously digging into their exquisite Victorian sponge cakes or pecan tarts or Baileys cheesecake. My order of cake and tea is filling yet not dense. The fudge cake is never dry, never soggy. The layers of frosting (which is not cloyingly sweet) are in perfect proportion to the cake segments, and the dollop of freshly whipped cream is garnished with a sprig of tart currents. Coming in under 10 euros, my order is a wonderful treat to unwind and feel like a decadent Dubliner.

It’s been both comforting and exhilarating exploring my options for some yummy treats around my new city. I’m sure that this is not the end of my quest for a diet consisting solely of sugar and butter. See you next time!