The soul-fulfilling comfort food of the South is certainly no secret. Likewise, the down-home folks of the South are no strangers to the delightful temptations of butter and bread. Yet, nowhere else in the region will you find sweet tooths as ravenous as the locals of the Great Smoky Mountains, nor the sugary decadence to match. When you travel to the Smokies, expect to take part in a culture of Mama’s freshly baked pastries, fruit pies of all varieties, oh-so-smooth chocolates, and the warm browned butter flavors of caramel. Your senses will thank you later for visiting these Gatlinburg candy stores, dessert spots and breakfast joints!
Gatlinburg Candy Shops
Whether you’re looking for kid-friendly treats or want to spoil your own inner child, the candy shops in Gatlinburg will make you feel like you stepped into Willy Wonka’s factory! Stop by Ripley’s Candy Factory to shop hundreds of candies sold by the quarter pound. Once you reach a full pound, you’ll even receive an adorable stuffed animal! You’ll find every type of candy you’ve ever encountered, even those that take you back to the good ole days. Plus, there are always new candies to discover and try for the first time.
Ripley’s Candy Factory is located right off the Gatlinburg Parkway at Ripley’s Marvelous Mirror Maze, a fun place to spend an afternoon with kids. After you stock up on your favorite treats, immerse yourself in a world of technicolor LED lights, pumped-up dance music, and infinite reflections! This labyrinth of rotating mirrors will confound your sense of direction and make you question your perception with every corner and dead end.
For a more traditional approach to candy-making, make sure to set aside some time to browse the shelves of Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen. This one-of-a-kind candy shop has been pleasing palates since 1952 with homemade recipes based on a family tradition. Between their two locations in downtown Gatlinburg, there will be plenty of opportunities to explore their never-ending store of goodies, from candy apples and pralines to bricks of fudge and assorted chocolate truffles. However, if there is one thing you must try, it’s the taffy. Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen is perhaps best known for their mountain taffy logs of six distinct flavors. Their products are all homemade on-site, so feel free to hang out and watch the master patissiers work the 125-year-old taffy machines!
Best Desserts in the Smokies
In the wise words of a Southern mama, “The fastest way to a person’s heart is through their stomach.” Win over your beloved’s heart again and again with a getaway to the Smokies full of cute dessert dates! Adina’s Sweet Shop is located in an adorable cabin off the Sevierville Parkway, the perfect venue for quality time with both sweetie and sweets. This family-owned and -operated bakery specializes in cupcakes and, in particular, original moonshine cupcakes. Skim through their bakery for other goodies like custom cakes, cookies, pies, whoopie pies, muffins, brownies, cannolis, and much more. Treat your special person to a scoop or two of Adina’s homemade ice cream on a hot summer day, or snag a picnic table and share an old-fashioned banana split. The treats and pastries at Adina’s Sweet Shop are so beautifully crafted and original that you can’t help but try to sample them all!
Not every dessert date has to be with a significant other. Sometimes, the most pleasant dates are those we enjoy with our furry best friend. Mad Dog’s Creamery is not just an ice cream shop for humans but also your dog’s soon-to-be favorite place in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Grab scoops of your top picks among 24 unique ice cream flavors, and head out to the picnic tables where your pup can gobble up some gourmet ice cream-shaped treats, play with toys, and make new friends. Mad Dog’s isn’t a one-hit wonder with ice cream, either. Splurge on a dozen donuts to-go, gigantic milkshakes, funnel cakes, or an original Mad Dog’s creation like the cotton candy burrito or ice cream nachos.
Breakfast for a Sweet Tooth
Pancakes with maple syrup and cozy log cabins in the mountains were made for each other! In the Great Smoky Mountains, you can stay in a luxury cabin with glorious mountain views and then sit down in a quaint cabin-style restaurant for a breakfast of champions.
Smoky’s Pancake Cabins is one of the best breakfast joints in Pigeon Forge when your sweet tooth is calling. For three generations, they have been serving scratch-made family recipes that locals and visitors alike can appreciate. Pick your guiltiest pleasure among their sixteen buttermilk pancake, french toast and waffle flavors, such as cheesecake, bacon or pineapple upside-down pancakes. For those more “salty toothed” folks in your family, Smoky’s Pancake Cabin won’t disappoint with their cabin breakfasts made with eggs, bacon, hash browns, corned beef, sausage, chicken and biscuits, and much more.
Pancake Pantry is a cure-all for sugar lovers in withdrawal! Their 24 pancake masterpieces are the result of 60 years of a combined effort to perfect a tradition and experiment with new ideas. Their scratch-made pancakes can be made with wild blueberries, cinnamon and spices, Swedish lingonberries, pecans and raisins with ricotta, orange syrup and black walnuts, and many other specialty ingredients. In addition, don’t miss out on crepes with cherry compote, Georgia peaches, apricot and lemon, or five types of wild berries. While you’re at it, top off your order with a side of farm eggs, sausage, ham or corned beef hash. If you’re ready to up the ante to satisfy your cravings, look no further than this Gatlinburg pancake restaurant.
Smooth chocolate truffles with raspberry filling, maple pecan pancakes topped with homemade whipped cream, and decadently fudgy cupcakes with cream cheese icing are just a few of life’s greatest pleasures. Indulge in those simplest joys with a dessert tour of the Great Smoky Mountains! From candy shops overflowing with your favorite brands to specialty dessert cafes to Mom-and-Pop pancake shacks, the scenic mountain towns of Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Sevierville are home to some of the South’s finest traditions in the art of sweetness.
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