Do Valentine’s Day dessert specials deserve the love?

Feb. 16, 2024, 12:20 a.m.

Editor’s Note: This article is a review and includes subjective thoughts, opinions and critiques.

Being the sentimental person that I am, I love Valentine’s Day. I love the relationship launches. I love people’s big shows of affection for their special person. I love the opportunity that it presents me to sit down and reflect on what love itself means to me. I am also one to enjoy the sweet treats of the holiday, which is what sent me on a trip to try and review some of the Valentine’s Day dessert specials from The Axe and Palm (TAP) and Decadence.

Red velvet milkshake (TAP)

Rating: 8.5/10

The milkshake specials at TAP are a highlight of the food and drink scene on campus. I recall my Filipino tastebuds feeling right at home with the ube milkshake that was offered last May, and this month’s peach cobbler milkshake has been hitting the spot. Speaking as a self-declared TAP connoisseur, I hope to offer my take on the Valentine’s Day special: the red velvet milkshake.

The red and pink heart sprinkles atop the whipped cream made a great first (visual) impression. As for the taste, the shake delivered on red velvet flavor. It has a rich kind of sweetness, striking a perfect balance between the cocoa and cream cheese-like flavors. The main area for improvement would have to be getting rid of the heart-shaped sprinkles, which had an unpleasant texture to chew on whenever I drank one up. Syrup drawn in the shape of a heart on top of the whipped cream might go better.

Red velvet white chocolate chip cookie (Decadence)

Rating: 7/10

Decadence’s red velvet white chocolate chip cookie did not disappoint (at least, not too much). I cannot say that I tasted the red velvet flavor as much as I did with the TAP milkshake, but I think this cookie would taste great fresh out of the oven with gooey white chocolate chips. While there was definitely room for improvement on this, it was still an enjoyable treat. I certainly would have it on occasion, admittedly not as my go-to cookie selection.

Chocolate-covered strawberry (Decadence)

Rating: 9/10

I cannot imagine a more quintessentially Valentine’s Day treat than strawberries covered in chocolate, and these did not disappoint. The juicy, vibrant sweetness of the strawberry matched very well with the chocolate that crumbled after each bite. I’d certainly order again as a post-midterm reward. 

Heart-shaped macaron (Decadence)

Rating: 6/10 (strawberry), 6.5/10 (vanilla)

This was my first time eating a macaron, so I may not have the refined pallet that it would take to truly judge the French confection. Decadence offers two heart-shaped macarons during Valentine’s season, one strawberry-flavored and one vanilla. I did not taste much of anything from the exterior shell, which ended up being more crumbly than I expected. The filling for the strawberry-flavored macaron featured, interestingly enough, a chemically powerful sweet aftertaste — the kind one would expect from artificial strawberry flavoring. I personally found this to be strong on the sweetness with little else to offer.

The vanilla-flavored macaron, however, was a moderate improvement upon its strawberry counterpart. It was also strong, but less offensive in its sweetness. Going without the strawberry flavoring and accomplishing a more subtly sweet flavor made it less of a disappointment. Between the two, I slightly prefer the vanilla flavor, but neither would be a go-to. Rather than with love, I would label my experience with these desserts as an “acquaintanceship” of sorts.

Sebastian Strawser ‘26 is an Opinions contributor. He also writes for Humor and The Grind. His interests include political philosophy, capybaras and Filipino food. Contact Sebastian at sstrawser 'at'

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