Hong Kong’s New Artisan Sweets

Who says dessert can’t be healthy? Kate Springer forages for a few artisan treats that should sate those sugar cravings without (totally) sabotaging your diet.

Pop and Lock

For frozen treats without all the unnatural junk, Lola’s Ice Pops is where it’s at. The handmade pops are made with all-natural ingredients and are free of preservatives, artificial coloring and chemicals. Plus they come in fun flavors, including watermelon basil and mango red chili. Need ‘em dairy-free, low-sugar, or filled with booze? Ask Lola’s about custom orders.

$30-35 per pop. Available at various locations including Citysuper, IFC Mall, 8 Finance St., Central, www.lolasicepops.com.

Bar None

One of the newest additions to the artisan foodie scene is Raiz The Bar from chef Priscilla Soligo of Rawthentic Foods, a family-owned Hong Kong company that’s all about eating plant-based food. This April, Soligo is taking a sweet turn with small-batch, handcrafted raw chocolate made with organic, unroasted winnowed cacao beans sourced directly from an Indonesian farm co-op. Packed with health-happy ingredients such as nuts and berries, each batch takes four days to make—and they’re completely free of sugar, gluten, soy, peanuts, additives and dairy. The compostable packaging is a nice added touch for those who like their chocolate completely guilt-free.
$70 per bar. www.raizthebar.com.

Sugar & Sote

For a sweet and salty fix, give Sote a try. The locally made artisan popcorn producer uses all-natural whole grain kernels and organic virgin coconut oil in its products. And the flavors are unique: try the Hong Kong milk tea, honey with cinnamon, or salted caramel. Traditionalists can just go classic with sea salt—simple as it is, it’s still pretty delicious.

$30-65 per package. 21 Robinson Rd., Mid-Levels, sotehk.com.

Lily Pure

A new venture from the folks at Lola’s Ice Pops, Lily & Ran is an American-style ice cream company. Named after the two founders’ children, the artisan ice creams are all made from scratch and come in delicious-sounding flavors including Earl Grey caramel, chocolate espresso, and smoked cardamom with caramel. Plus, there’s a 1950s Hong Kong-inspired flavor: vanilla ice cream with homemade pound cake. The ethos is all about high-quality ingredients and keeping things natural: so you can expect three types of single-origin vanilla from Mexico, Uganda and Madagascar, as well as zero artificial additives. Great for your waistline? Probably not. But at least you can feel good about the quality ingredients.

$85 per pint. www.lilyandran.com.

Go Nuts

Tired of paying through the roof for unprocessed almond and nut butters—which pack lots of protein, fiber, healthy fats and vitamins—Heather Barlow started up Churned last year. Specializing in made-to-order artisanal nut butters, Churned makes decadent flavors, including the likes of dark chocolate and cherry almond, or pumpkin spice pecan. Though the variations change depending on the season, Churned’s selections are safe for those with dietary restrictions including gluten intolerance. Have a special request? Order a bespoke butter with extra crunch or less sugar—it’s up to you.

Find Churned at Discovery Bay’s Handmade Hong Kong markets through May, or order online, www.churnedhk.com.

Have a Cow

Happy Cow’s locally produced dairy-free and gluten-free ice creams are made with coconut cream and coconut-tree flower sugar, making them perfect for vegans as well as those watching their diets. Despite whipping up ice cream flavors such as cherry almond fudge and piña colada, Happy Cow ice creams are actually relatively good for you: coconut oil injects good cholesterol, while the calorie count is approximately 30 percent less than your average pint of Ben & Jerry’s. So, eating a whole pint is fine, right?

$32-88. Available at various locations including Just Green, 52 Graham St., Central, 2801-5611, www.happycowhk.com.


This article originally appeared in HK Magazine print and online