Manchester: Where to Get Your Sugar Fix

By: Ruth Rosselson

March 28, 2013

Manchester is quickly becoming a city known for its cafe culture, independent eateries and up-and-coming restaurants. But alongside the stellar gastronomy lies an array of high-quality, great value sweet boutiques, selling everything from homemade ice cream and beautifully crafted cakes to speciality chocolate and jars filled with old-fashioned sweet shop favourites. Here’s just a small sugary taste of what’s on offer”¦

Fresco Freddo’s

Fresco Freddos | Manchester

Fresco Freddo’s own traditional gelato and sorbets © Fresco Freddo’s

While Manchester can’t quite claim Italy’s weather, it can offer the visitor a taste of summer at Fresco Freddo’s, a traditional Italian gelateria. Conveniently situated right next to the Palace Theatre, Fresco Freddo’s serves 22 delicious flavours of authentic Italian gelato and sorbet, and also dishes up waffles, hot desserts and cakes. Our favourite is the totally fat-free (and vegan) dark chocolate sorbet, with the hazelnut gelato coming a close second. Lower in fat than ice cream, and with no artificial flavours or colours, there’s no excuse not to indulge.


Bittersweet | Manchester

Childhood Favourites at Bittersweet © Bittersweetshop

Relive your school days with a visit to Bittersweet traditional sweet shop, found in the trendy suburb of Chorlton. Jars of colourful sweets adorn the shelves, including old favourites such as chocolate limes, rhubarb and custards, cola cubes, and sherbet lemons. With penny sweets for those who like to mix and match and imported salty liquorice for customers with a more sophisticated palate, you’ll find it almost impossible to leave empty-handed.

Tea Hive

Tea Hive | Manchester

Afternoon tea at the Tea Hive © Michela De Rossi

After you’ve filled your bag with sweets, a short walk up the road will take you to Tea Hive, one of Chorlton’s many independent cafes. It specialises in serving a wide range of loose leaf teas and freshly baked cakes on beautiful vintage crockery. Even those on a gluten-free, vegan or wheat-free diet can find something delicious to indulge in. The lunch deal is a true bargain and includes soup, a sandwich and a cake of your choice.

Chocolate Café

Chocolate Cafe | Manchester

Goodies from The Chocolate Café in Ramsbottom © Chocolate Café

If you’re after a truly powerful chocolate fix then leave the Dairy Milk in the confectionary aisle and head for the Chocolate Café in Ramsbottom. Its high quality, award-winning chocolates are handmade on site and sold from the shop downstairs, whilst real chocoholics can spoil themselves with a slice or two of the café’s unique chocolate pizza. The busy cafe upstairs is worth a visit for a cup of traditional hot chocolate, or South American hot chocolate made with pure Colombian cocoa and mixed spices.

Hey Little Cupcake

Hey Little Cupcake | Manchester

Quirky cupcakes at Hey Little Cupcake © Hey Little Cupcake

The craze for all things cupcake shows no sign of abating and Manchester is home to plenty of cupcake shops and cafes. One of the best, and most central, is Hey Little Cupcake, found in the city’s newest development, Spinningfields. The new breakfast range of cupcakes (including Nutella and banana pancake) may not be the healthiest breakfast choice, but they’ll certainly give your morning a kick!

Header Photo © Vorobyeva2013. Used under license from


Ruth Rosselson

Ruth Rosselson is a writer, researcher and community facilitator based in Manchester. A city-lover through and through, Ruth loves going to gigs and eating out at her favourite Manchester restaurants and cafes. A keen scuba-diver, she’s still in search of the elusive (but very large) whale shark, and also loves country breaks in the UK. Her favourite UK spots include Grasmere in the Lake District and Harris in the Outer Hebrides.