Whether it be post-dinner cravings or mid-afternoon impulse buys, sweet treats have a special place in our daily lives. Popular dessert chains such as The Cheesecake Factory, T4 and Cream are almost always full. In an attempt to avoid the hassle, one should explore smaller and lesser-known options, such as Cafe Venetia, to satisfy the craving for something sweet.
Cafe Venetia is a small coffee shop on University Avenue tucked away from the larger establishments. As one enters the establishment, the smell of assorted pastries and coffee fills the air, while close-up photographs of cookies, coffee and chocolates cover the orange walls, invoking one’s hunger. Although small, Cafe Venetia does its best to accommodate patrons. For those willing to bear the autumn temperatures, Cafe Venetia also offers multiple tables outside.
Those with a decreased tolerance for temperatures can sit inside at the bar-top seating, which overlooks the street, or at tables which fit up to five. For customers looking for privacy, Cafe Venetia also offers a second floor, available through reservation.
Offering a variety of pastries, tarts and cakes, the selection can be quite intimidating.
Indecisive patrons should ask the friendly staff, who are happy to assist in ordering. In terms of coffee, their first menu offers basic drinks, such as espressos, cappuccinos and hot chocolate. For those with a more refined taste in coffee, the second menu displays their vast selection of coffee beans and blends from places you’ve probably only seen on TV.
The Mount Diablo Cake and a simple cappuccino can be purchased for a total of $10.64. The cake is three-dimensional in shape, but flat in taste. Topped with a thick layer of carefully-arranged chocolate mousse, this cake is sure to satisfy cravings for anything sweet. As I took my first bite, the staggering volume of chocolatey sweetness took me by surprise. The layer of mousse on top of the cake floods one’s tastebuds, and unfortunately drowns out the other flavors of the cake.
It took the reading of the label for me to discover the cake actually also includes raspberry jam and rum. An unknown layer of filling, presumably almond, is a greatly-appreciated change in the texture of this overly-creamy cake. Akin to mass-produced chocolate cakes available at your local supermarket, the chocolate and sweetness were too overpowering.
Fortunately, the barista had also recommended a cappuccino. Although the $4 is somewhat pricey for the volume of the drink, the cappuccino was velvety and was an incredible experience to sip. Topped with a decorative swirl of foam and milk, the bittersweet drink served as a lifeboat from the sea of sweetness of the cake.
Although pricey, the cappuccino and Mount Diablo Cake form a delicate balance of sweetness.
For those seeking sugary treats, this combination is perfect.
Cafe Venetia’s other chocolatey options were fortunately not as sweet. These other options include the Mousse al Cioccolato and the chocolate caramel, totalling to $12.50.
Served in a tall margarita glass, the thick, creamy mousse spreads the comforting taste of chocolate throughout the mouth. Perfect for the cold, this upgraded hot chocolate is ideal for those looking for a tasty warm sweet treat. In terms of value, the $5.50 price is reasonable. For those looking for a cheaper chocolaty alternative, consider the chocolate caramel tart.
The chocolate caramel tart was one of sweeter items available on the menu. Covered with a thick fudge-like layer of chocolate, the house-made filling is not quite gummy as other caramels. The sweet and viscous filling seemingly melts in one’s mouth. The crust was brittle and hard, and in combination with the thickness of the chocolate and caramel, it is a struggle to eat. The crust crumbles, akin to a biscuit, rather than flaking apart. Overall, the $5.75 tart had good intentions, but unfortunately the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts.
Being one of University Avenue’s underground eateries, Cafe Venetia is mostly unknown. However, step through their door to receive great customer service, a cozy environment and most importantly, delicious decadent treats.