Local Bakery and Wine Shop Recommend Dessert Fare

In solid or liquid form, local experts share their picks for dessert fare.
Sugar Love Bakery's scrumptious chocolate trifle.

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a new bakery in town: Sugar Love has opened a new shop in Tamarack Hills. The sweet fare is upscale and 100 percent made-from-scratch; owner Lymarie Jimenez’s motto is “Simple, beautiful, delicious.” She already had us at the name Sugar Love, an endearment and come-on at once. Jimenez was referring to herself when she named the bakery; she embraces her love of all things sweet with a defiant glee and has the French words for “sugar” and “love” tattooed on her wrists. “I always have dessert,” she says. “At a fancy restaurant, the first thing I want to see is the dessert menu. I’ll skip dinner and just have dessert.”
Jimenez has a wealth of experience behind her. She cooked at some impressive joints around town including  Birchwood Café  and W.A. Frost and she completed Cordon Bleu cooking school in St. Paul in 2002. Her most formative experience was a three-month stint in Paris where she cooked at the famous restaurant, Maxim’s. Ask Jimenez why she makes everything from scratch when, say, buying packaged graham crackers for the s’mores cupcakes would save money and time, she’ll respond, “That’s how they do it in France. And I know we can do it here.”

Sugar Love’s Top Five Confections:

Salted Chocolate Caramel Tart
This is literally as it sounds: a chocolate tart shell, a layer of salted caramel, a layer of Valrhona’s carmella chocolate—a caramel chocolate— and a layer of salted caramel with a crunchy sprinkle of Maldon sea salt on top. It embodies our tagline nicely: simple, beautiful and delicious.  $5.95
Lemon Strawberry Meringue Tart
You gotta have something for the non-chocolate people; lemon and strawberry are a natural together, tangy and sweet. Toasted meringue (whipped egg whites) on top is gorgeous, airy and light. The tart crust for all of our tarts is a pâté brisee; it's a standard crust that’s not very sweet since the lemon curd filling with fresh strawberry puree is usually sweet enough. $4.95

Chocolate Trifle
A chocolate mousse brownie layered with Tahitian vanilla pastry cream, chopped brownie bits, and a layer of ganache covering crunchy Valrhona chocolate pearls. $4.95

Chocolate-covered Strawberry Cupcake
The cake part is a dark ganache chocolate. The cupcake is topped with strawberry buttercream. A monster of a chocolate-dipped strawberry sits on top. This is our signature cupcake, also available gluten-free. $2.50

Pistachio Turtle Brownie

There will be nuts, caramel and chocolate—you can imagine the rest. Also lots of brownie flavors: regular, German chocolate, bourbon pecan, mint, peanut butter and espresso. $2.25
Dessert doesn’t have to be in solid form; some prefer to drink theirs instead. Bill Abrahamson from Top Ten Wine & Spirits shares his knowledge of these sweet elixirs and suggests a few notables. Abrahamson offers these guidelines for wine with dessert:
The wine should be at least as sweet as the dessert it's being served with. I always try to go sweeter with the wine, otherwise the food brings out and accentuates bitter elements in the wine.
For desserts that have a fruity core, like a raspberry tart, I like a fruity or fresh wine like a ruby port or a late harvest wine--something with a berry flavor. For desserts that have a nutty focus like pecan pie, I will serve a tawny port or a wine that has a dried fruit (i.e. raisin) element like passito wine from Italy or a Pineau des Charantes from the Cognac region of France. For a cheesecake, choose a Riesling Auslese or an Eiswein.
Bill Abrahamson’s wine picks:

Heinz Eifel Eiswein 2012 Rheinhessen 375ml ($29.99)
Made from hand-picked frozen grapes with very little juice left in them. Rich, nectar-like flavors of pineapple and stone fruit.
Warre's Otima 10 Year Tawny Port 500ml ($29.99)
Aged in oak for 10 years, the wine has a lovely amber color, beautiful aromas and flavors of toasted nuts and maple syrup.
Cascinetta Vietti Moscato d'Asti 750ml ($16.99)
Super fresh flavors of peach and lychee fruit, this wine has a moderate amount of bubbles and a relatively low alcohol level of just under 6%.
Robert Hall vintage Port Paso Robles 750ml ($21.99)
Minnesota's own Robert Hall grows the same Port varietals grown in the Duero region in Portugal, only he's in Paso Robles, California. The results are very good, with deep dark berry and caramel flavors.
Bodegas Toro Albala Don PX Vintage Montilla-Moriles 375ml ($22.99)
Made from sun-dried Pedro Ximenez grapes, this is a nutty, pruney and raisin-y delight. Very intense flavor; it’s a big weighty wine on the palate. Forget the pecan pie—drink this instead.