The Best Holiday Treats In Arlington

Lily Dezfulian, Staff Reporter

The sharp taste of gingerbread in your mouth. Peppermint wafting through the air. As the holidays approach, these delicious smells and tastes surround us. But where to get the best holiday treats? Never fear, I will be your guide through Arlington’s festive sugar world.

Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe, a short one-mile walk from our school, is filled to the brim with delicious holiday sweets. The store holds gingerbread houses and stacks of sugar cookies with sprinkles on top. 

My first recommendation would be a slice of red velvet cake with decorative frosting of a holly berry on top. The texture of the cake and the cream cheese frosting mix perfectly. The frosting supports the chocolate base without overpowering your mouth. Its temperature is equally compelling; the cold of the frosting creates a variety in each bite. 

Heidelberg holds other similar items. There are cupcakes, both vanilla and chocolate, decorated with red, green and snowflake sprinkles. The lightweight frosting is silky smooth, and it is clear that the staff are pros at balancing the flavor of frosting and cake. 

They have a dense, rich brownie with similar sprinkles. It is neither too sweet nor too bitter. Another sweet can be seen in the shape of colorful cubes. Under the white, brown or red frosting is a layered yellow cake. In between the cake is light cream, which is the final flavor the cube needs to become heavenly. Frosted Christmas reefs are placed on top of the pastry.

Another beautiful treat is a marzipan pig for the new year. Pigs symbolize good luck in Germany, and during the New Year, it is tradition to surround yourself and loved ones with good luck charms. To exemplify this, held in the pig’s mouth is a fresh penny for the New Year. Its ears and arms are made of thinly sliced almonds. The inside has a moist texture, but remember that it is marzipan. Only those with a love for its strong flavor can truly enjoy this treat.

If you are looking for gingerbread, you might want to consider a different business. Heidelberg sells Santa Claus gingerbread cookies, and while the decorative icing is beautiful, the texture is dry and there is little to no flavor until the aftertaste.

Down the street from Heidelberg, resting on the edge of Lee Heights is Pastries by Randolph. The storefront holds large log cakes decorated with red and green colors. It also has gingerbread houses and sparkly sugar cookies that look like they came out of your home kitchen; the sprinkles are placed haphazardly on top of the simple beige cookie. They are still soft on the inside, even after a day out of a sealed container. On your first nibble, you will notice a slight hint of zest. This flavor, paired with the delicate texture of the cookie and the grating contrast of the sprinkles, adds adventure to each bite.

Moving back to the Harrison area, there is a Starbucks sitting snugly on Langston Blvd. If you look in the display case, you will spot a cute reindeer cake pop. They also have a special peppermint hot chocolate. It is the drink of dreams. The peppermint smell is the perfect reminder of the holidays as it wafts from the cup to your heart. The flavor ensures that you will not tire easily of the drink.

At Tysons Corner Center, you will find a collection of sweet shops practically stacked on top of one another. If you’re on the second floor, you may spot Olivia Macaron. Their eggnog macaron—which sounds sketchy—is green with colorful sprinkles on top. The only way to describe its flavor is to say it tastes exactly like Christmas. 

With the chestnut macaron, they choose to emphasize the nut taste in this treat rather than going the popular route of piling sugar on top of the natural flavor. Any sweetness you taste is coming from the filling in between. The peppermint macaron deals with the same sugar problem; the mint taste lingers in your mouth for too long. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the cranberry macaron tastes like chocolate and sugar. Its signature flavor is so minuscule if someone told you it is a red velvet flavor, you wouldn’t bat an eye.

If you choose to listen to anything I say, listen to this. Do not get the gingerbread macaron. Its disgustingly strong flavor will make you gag. The only thing that got the taste out of my mouth was their neighbor Häagen-Dazs’ peppermint bark ice cream, and that is because it compares less to ice cream and more to toothpaste.

Don’t fret, there is still hope. The candy store Lolli & Pops, directly below Hagen Dazs, is filled to the brim with holiday-themed sweets. They have peppermint lollipops, candy canes and even peppermint hot cocoa cotton candy. If you’re looking for a chocolaty treat, the marshmallow-filled, chocolate-covered peppermint crunch is perfect. The store has both peppermint and marshmallow hot cocoa. When you go to the side room for chocolate, you’ll find pudding-flavored Christmas fudge.

Of course, this is a candy store. It has jelly beans inside Christmas lights, gingerbread peeps, elf gummies and even sour reindeer snot. Pez dispensers come in the shapes of gingerbread men, elves and polar bears in hats. All in all, the store is perfect for stocking gifts. 

There is a multitude of treats for the holidays in Arlington. Go out and let your sweet tooth roam free.