Decadence: A taster’s guide

April 5, 2013, 3:00 a.m.
ROXANNA REAVES/The Stanford Daily
ROXANNA REAVES/The Stanford Daily

Earlier this school year, Stanford’s very own sweet shop, Decadence, made its debut in Tresidder Union. While we all know Starbucks’ pastry offerings are consistently yummy, Decadence offers a unique and novel selection of sweets that are definitely worth a try. And, if novelty isn’t quite enough to persuade you, did I mention that Decadence also takes meal plan dollars? That’s right: you can get one of their delicious freshly baked cookies–which rival the warm (and some say, seductive) Late Nite and Axe & Palm varieties–and use your pre-paid meal plan cash. Talk about guilt-free desserts.

I decided to try a wide variety of their desserts. This included three different types of macaroons (coconut-passion fruit, chocolate and pistachio), some chocolate pastries including a chocolate petit four, rocky road cheesecake, a chocolate-orange truffle and one fruity raspberry mouse dessert. Some kind friends also went out of their way to help me finish the desserts and give their input, too.


Macarons have become the newest “trendy dessert,” following after the popular fro-yo craze (embodied by Decadence’s neighbor Fraiche) and (most recently) the designer cupcake fad. These small French confections typically have some sort of flavored ganache or buttercream sandwiched between two delicate-yet-chewy cookies. Decadence’s macarons were very impressive for a Stanford-run sweet shop. The texture of the cookie portion contained just the right balance of soft and chewy, without committing the common mistake of being overly mushy–or worse, stale. However, in the coconut-passion fruit macaron, the coconut flavor was too subtle, practically completely missing in the cookie. Still, the punch of the passion fruit ganache inside made up for the lack of coconut–and made for a very tasty dessert. The chocolate and pistachio macarons both had just the right degree of kick and sweetness, as my fellow samplers Elly Untermeyer ‘16 and Javier Guinard ‘14 expressed. The chocolate macaron, in fact, had a little bit of an orange-zesty tang to it, while the pistachio macaron was delightfully non-artificial tasting. Although these little cookies are individually on the pricy side, many of the tasters, including Ambika Acharya ‘16, said, “I would definitely get a box of [the macarons] using my meal plan dollars.”

ROXANNA REAVES/The Stanford Daily
ROXANNA REAVES/The Stanford Daily

Chocolate Pastries

Chocolate Petit Four–This tiny bite-sized cake is covered in chocolate and has a thin but intensely flavored marzipan layer over a cube of chocolate cake. The petit four had mixed reviews among my samplers, who commented on the overpowering almond flavor of the marzipan and slightly dry cake portion. Still, its adorable presentation and cute fondant Stanford “S” was an all around big hit.

Rocky Road Cheesecake–Arguably the best of the chocolate desserts, this cheesecake had an intense chocolate flavor while still maintaining its signature sweet, silky and cream-cheesy tartness. The cheesecake is topped with dark chocolate and perfectly soft mini-marshmallows that, as Maggie Murphy ‘16 and Carlos Girod ‘16 both noted, were a surprisingly great–and not gratuitous, as marshmallow toppings can often be–addition. However, the crust was weak, offering little crunch or taste to the otherwise-delicious cheesecake.

Chocolate-Orange Truffle–The truffle was probably my least favorite of the chocolate desserts. The orange filling tasted rather artificial and took away from the naturally delicious dark chocolate, which made up the thick outer shell of the truffle. I would probably recommend skipping this particular selection and instead getting the chocolate macaron, which had similar flavors.

Fancy and Fruity

The Raspberry-Mousse-and-Pistachio-Cake Cup was incredibly flavorful and truly aesthetically beautiful. The mousse is served in a clear plastic trapezoidal prism that showcases the layers of intense raspberry mousse, soaked pistachio cake and vanilla mousse that Marja Diaz ‘16 describes as tasting like the “non-burnt part of crème brûlée.”

In all honesty, I’m not a huge fan of raspberry. But this dessert changed me. I felt the mousse was an ideal consistency and the raspberry and pistachio were paired deliberately and deliciously. Overall, I would definitely get it again–or give it to a certain someone I wanted to impress.

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