I Spent A Week Trying The Top Desserts On Instagram

Photo: Courtesy of Elizabeth Buxton.
What would Instagram be, if not for food shots? Or more importantly, dessert shots? (Tbh, probably just a lot of selfies and shelf-ies.) It's a platform that has taken the foodie-craze to soaring heights of social celebrity; generating not only food-famous accounts, but also creating mass fan-hysteria around specific items (ever heard of the Cronut?) And because of this, our feeds remain flooded with snaps of sensational sweets — racking up thousands, upon thousands of likes, and hundreds of comments on the reg. We've become so entranced by the visual splendour of these shots and their social representation, that the act of actually consuming them can ultimately wind up getting lost.
Cue my confession: I am a food writer (and also a self-proclaimed foodie) — but before now, I had never eaten a Cronut, never purchased a sleeve of macarons from Ladurée, or even set foot inside NYC's legendary Magnolia Bakery. Why? Because I felt that in many ways (through my Insta-feed) that I'd really already had my fill. And also because (if I'm being really honest) I had written the mania around these trendy treats off as #basic — quietly choosing not to partake. But in reality, I'm not above #eatingforthegram (sorry, not sorry). So I put my pride aside and decided it was high time that I took some initiative to get intimately involved with these sugary stars.
I selected my four hit spots by digging through Instagram's most popular sweet shops in America from 2015 and 2016. The resulting list contained the above mentioned in addition to another top contender, Levain Bakery. Was I excited? Yes. Was I scared of becoming basic (or realizing, maybe, that I had been all along)? Also, yes. But on I went, to discover if the bite was worth the hype. And in the end, what truly matters most: the 'gram or the (baked) good?

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