Breaking up a hot, humid day with a refreshing pit stop is essential in Cambodia – and Gelato Lab fits the bill perfectly. This laid-back haunt serves traditional Italian gelato, made on-site by slow-churning imported whole milk. Using the finest natural ingredients sourced from across the globe – think organic hazelnuts from Vietnam and pistachios from Italy – all the sorbets are free from artificial preservatives and additives. Flavours include mango, dragonfruit, bubblegum and chocolate.
Doubling up as a bakery and casual diner, the Blue Pumpkin brand can be seen across Cambodia. As well as plating up pastries, pizzas, salads, sandwiches and pasta, the Siem Reap outlet offers a range of desserts. On the menu is chocolate cake, eclairs, cheesecake, chocolate caramel tart… the mouth-watering list goes on. It’s the ice cream, however, that stands out, with a whole catalogue to choose from. As well as the usual flavours, indulgent offerings span ice-cream fondue, banana split and chocolate liegeois, to name a few. All items are made fresh daily from Blue Pumpkin’s central bakery.
If you’re craving typical Khmer desserts, then Kaya Café is the place to be. Set upstairs in a colonial shophouse, this charming joint offers a special tasting menu, taking in all the treats Cambodians love to snack on. These include sticky rice and taro cream, palm sugar and coconut milk; banana cake; and black sticky rice pudding, served with fresh mango, cinnamon, coconut cream and palm sugar. The luxurious spa can also help ease those aches and pains from a day of temple-trekking.
If nothing other than a super-tasty cupcake will hit the spot, then look no further than Bloom Café. Launched in 2013 by Bloom Asia – the not-for-profit organisation behind the highly successful Bloom Café in Phnom Penh – this Siem Reap cupcake boutique ultimately aims to provide top-quality hospitality training for young Cambodians. The offshoot is a beautiful café serving some of the most indulgent nibbles in the country. A small sample includes carrot cake with lemon cream cheese, cinnamon and walnut with maple cream cheese, and cookies and cream cheesecake.
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Desserts can be tucked into guilt-free at Project Y Frozen Yogurt, as the store moonlights as an educational social enterprise run by Cambodia Rural School Trust. Specialising in frozen yoghurts, smoothies and iced coffee and chocolate drinks, Project Y boasts a self-service bar, where a range of toppings can be added. The final creation is then weighed and paid for. Smoothies are also made from the yoghurts, which are 97 percent fat-free. Flavours include mixed berries, blood orange and French vanilla.