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Just Desserts 

Signature sweets to make your mouth water

We've got this diet thing all wrong. We are dieting in the summer and eating hearty foods in the winter. Yet 20,000 years of DNA would argue that humans from colder climates should be stuffing themselves in the summer when food has always been abundant and then eating sparingly in the winter when food traditionally was scarce.

So consider this an excuse to gorge yourself during the dog days of the end of summer. Why not start with the sweetest dish: desserts. While many area restaurants have desserts shipped in from a distant "factory" or buy some excellent products from local dessert companies/bakeries such as Tizzerts Custom Cakery, other restaurants go to the expense of employing an actual pastry chef to produce signature desserts on site. As with most foods, freshness matters. Here are some of my favorite desserts around town:

I haven't met a süsse sachen I didn't love at the Waldhorn, especially their Apfelstrudel and the Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cake). You can have a slice in house or order it whole to take home.

Waldhorn Restaurant, 12101 Lancaster Highway, Pineville, 704-540-7048

Landmark Diner has been making their own cakes and pies since they opened. They may not have the "I-hate-my-baby's-daddy" pie a la the movie Waitress, but they do make a mean chocolate cream pie, and their Pineapple Coconut cake has avid fans around town. You can buy a whole cake for $40 plus tax. Call two days ahead.

Landmark Diner, 4429 Central Ave., 704-532-1153

Looking for pie? Of the Southern desserts one of the best is the Buttermilk Pie at Fenwick Restaurant, but you will need to call one day ahead of time since it's not currently on the menu.

Fenwick Restaurant, Providence Road, 704-333-2750

Another Southern specialty is the Banana Cream Pie at 131 Main. You can buy the whole pie for $36 (with a $10 deposit for the pie dish) with one day's notice.

131 Main, Lake Norman: 17830 N. Statesville Road, Cornelius, 704-896-0131 and in South Charlotte, 9886 Rea Road, 704-544-0131

Tria Terra is a terrific restaurant in south Charlotte. Why wait until after dinner for their Crema Catalana? This is the perfect dessert with an afternoon coffee.

Tria Terra Restaurant Tapas and Bar, 7707 Pineville-Matthews Road in the Carmel Commons Shopping Center, 704-541-2924

I ordered my family's traditional Buche de Noel here last Christmas, but a year round favorite is their nine-inch Chocolate Raspberry Ganache for $27.59 plus tax. 24 hour notice.

Marguerite's French Bakery, 2424 N. Davidson St., 704-675-5756

Global desserts here are slyly insinuating, and one of their best is the crème brulee threesome: mocha, vanilla and chocolate. Yummy.

Global Restaurant, 3520 Toringdon Way, 704-248-0866

Frank Kaltsounis' desserts are utterly elegant. He produces Nolen's "custom sweets" roster (and also the desserts at sibling restaurant Ilios Noche).

Nolen Kitchen & Crescent Bar Lounge, 2839 Selwyn Ave., 704-372-1424

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