Taste-testing cherry blossom foods in the DC area

Taste-testing cherry blossom foods in the DC area

No one can deny that cherry blossom fever has arrived in the District — a delight not only for the eyes, but also the taste buds. As the flowers bloom, the quantity and variety of cherry blossom-inspired foods multiply in the D.C. area.

Of course, the majority of these foods don’t typically use cherry blossoms as flavoring so much as inspiration. Instead, the easier-to-find cherry is the star for many seasonal dishes during this time of year in the District.

But how can you decide which new dishes are worth a try? WTOP put five different smaller businesses to the test by tasting and ranking their bloom-inspired treats. Find out which locally-made foods had WTOP staff coming back for a second (or third) bite below.

Cherry Blossom Doughnuts from Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken

The deets: Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken is always switching up their flavors, and this season, they’re offering a special Cherry Blossom Doughnut. The nicely decorated square-shaped treat is filled with a tart red cherry jam with a cream cheese glaze. It is available in singles for $5.35 or in a “Mini Cherry Blossom Box” set with 12 mini doughnuts for $38.

Average rating: 4.1 out of 5 (8 total reviews)

Notable quotes from WTOP:

Nia Dumas, WTOP Associate Producer: “Superb.”

Abigail Constantino, WTOP Digital Editor: “I don’t know if I like the jelly. It’s a little sour.”

Grace Newton, WTOP Associate Producer: “I’m usually not a huge fan of jelly in doughnuts, but this is really sweet, and … tastes really fresh. I’m a pretty big fan.”

Elly Rowe, WTOP Marketing Director: “The cherry filling, if you like filling, is very good, not super sweet.”

Dave Preston, WTOP Morning Sports Anchor and Reporter: “Love the frosting.”

Emily Venezky, WTOP Digital Editor and Writer: “I feel like this doughnut could taste terrible, and I would still like it because it’s so pretty. But it is really good.”

David Mundschenk, WTOP Broadcast Engineer: “I’d say overall this is a top-notch doughnut.”

Michelle Goldchain, WTOP Social Media & Video Editor: “Delicious.”

Cherry Blossom Old Fashioned Booze-Infused Ice Cream from Tipsy Scoop

The deets: In a recent episode of WTOP’s “Matt About Town,” Matt Kaufax recently raised a glass (and a cone) to Tipsy Scoop, D.C.’s booze-infused ice cream shop. Now, WTOP staff have put the sweet shop to the test by sampling the Cherry Blossom Old Fashioned flavor. The cherry ice cream is infused with Hatozaki Finest Japanese Whisky as well as yuzu bitters and lemon. It has up to 5% alcohol and is only available for those ages 21 and up.

Average rating: 4 out of 5 (7 total reviews)

Notable quotes from WTOP:

Jay Webb, WTOP Videographer: “It’s pretty tasty, really smooth.”

Elly Rowe, WTOP Marketing Director: “This would be an amazing milkshake.”

Michelle Goldchain, WTOP Social Media & Video Editor: “If you try it, you’re going to know there’s definitely alcohol in there.”

Matt Mills, WTOP Director of Sales: “Is it vodka in there?”

Janie Worch, WTOP Director of Business Development: “It’s kind of medicinal … Does it have rum in it?”

Bill McFarland, WTOP News Director: “I can’t really tell you what alcohol is in there … Whiskey? No wonder I like it.”

Julie Ziegler, WTOP Director of News & Programming: “Not too overwhelming. Definitely a great taste.”

Cherry Blossom Pizza from Stellina Pizzeria

The deets: Stellina Pizzeria is offering several seasonal specials for spring, including a Cherry Blossom Spritz, a Cherry Blossom Negroni and also this Cherry Blossom Pizza that WTOP staff savored. The pizza, available for $17, is made with mozzarella, cherries, garlic confit, duck prosciutto, parsley hazelnut pesto and a porto wine reduction.

Average rating: 3.5 out of 5 (6 total reviews)

Notable quotes from WTOP:

Erron Franklin, WTOP Social Media & Video Editor: “The duck prosciutto, I like it. It has a little sweet hint to it. I’m not sure if I think of cherry blossoms when I eat it, but it’s good.”

Mike Jakaitis, WTOP Senior Broadcast Producer: “It’s not bad. Not bad at all … It’s pizza. I mean, I’ve had worse. You know, I’ve had better, but not bad.”

Michelle Goldchain, WTOP Social Media & Video Editor: “It really is a lot of greens, like that’s a lot of greens.”

Thomas Robertson, WTOP Web Writer and Editor: “It’s not necessarily my kind of pizza … but for what it is, if this is kind of your thing, it tastes fresh. The fruit is not overpowering … It’s not bad.”

George Molnar, WTOP Director of Technology: “It’s like having a very delicious salad.”

Alicia Abelson, WTOP PM Broadcast Writer: “I’m kind of a pizza snob … I thought it would be a little bit more flavorful … I don’t think there’s enough of the prosciutto. The cherries are fine. I think this pizza’s just fine.”

Cherry Scones from Levain Bakery

The deets: New York-born Levain Bakery is sharing two limited-time offers to their Georgetown and Bethesda, Maryland, locations to celebrate the spring season. They include a cherry iced tea and a cherry scone. The $4 scone is made with whole rolled oats and plump dried sour cherries.

Average rating: 3.5 out of 5 (6 total reviews)

Notable quotes from WTOP:

Mariel Santa Cruz, WTOP Marketing Coordinator: “The cherry is chewy, but not overly chewy. It adds a good amount of sweetness. I think that the cherry-to-scone mass ratio is solid. You won’t be feeling left like you got skimped, but it won’t be like you’re just eating a fruitcake.”

JJ Green, WTOP National Security Correspondent: “Nice and hearty … This is good. This is well done. The flavors are subtle, but I can definitely taste the cherries.”

José Umaña, WTOP Digital Editor: “I was expecting more cherry. A little dry … A little bland … I’m kind of disappointed.”

Ana Golden, WTOP Associate Producer: “Could be a little sweeter.”

Michelle Goldchain, WTOP Social Media & Video Editor: “It’s not that cherry-forward … Not that tart. Not that sweet.”

Linh Bui, WTOP Reporter: “I like the cherry in it. It adds a sweetness. Mostly, it just tastes like a regular scone, though.”

Cherry Blossom Cannoli from Bisnonna Bakeshop

The deets: This limited-run flavor at the Fairfax, Virginia, bakery is provided in batches of three, sold at $15.25. When provided to the customer, the ricotta cream base is offered in a piping bag rather than pre-filled in the cannoli shell, a decision made likely to ensure that the shell remains crisp when eaten. While separated from the cannoli shell, it’s an easy task to fill them with the cherry blossom-perfumed and cherry-filled cream, and there’s a a card provided with “how-to” instructions for those who may need them. No walk-ins are available at this bakery with pre-orders required.

Average rating: 4.2 out of 5 (6 total reviews)

Notable quotes from WTOP:

Terik King, WTOP Associate Producer and Host of the WTOP Book Report: “I like this. The cherry part is very prominent.”

Rob Woodfork, WTOP Sports Anchor and Reporter: “It’s sweet, crunchy, and it’s delectable.”

Dave Preston, WTOP Morning Sports Anchor and Reporter: “I think it’s understated and pleasant. I enjoy it … On the elite level.”

Tom Temin, Host and Managing Editor of the Federal Drive at the Federal News Network: “Great shell. Great multi-flavor … The cream is not overly sweet.”

Bill McFarland, WTOP News Director: “The cherry really jumps out at you. It’s very smooth. It’s very not too overwhelmingly sweet.”

Reada Kessler, WTOP Traffic Reporter: “I like that because that is different. That is different than your average cannoli.”

Cherry Blossom Chocolate Bark from Capital Candy Jar

The deets: Cherries and chocolate are a classic combo, and Capital Candy Jar cranks their concoction up a notch by infusing the dark and white chocolate-flavored layers with cherry oil and a layer of real dried cherries. Topping it are pink sprinkles and chocolate drizzles.

Average rating: 3.8 out of 5 (6 total reviews)

Notable quotes from WTOP:

Nia Dumas, WTOP Associate Producer: “It’s like a fruity chocolate, but it has like a mint taste.”

Carrie Shokraei, WTOP Writer: “It’s good. It’s sweet … The white part of it, it tastes like a licorice, and I’m not really sure that’s something that I love.”

Emily Venezky, WTOP Digital Editor and Writer: “Oh, my gosh. It’s definitely floral and really sweet for chocolate, but I like it. I love the crunch, too.”

Michelle Goldchain, WTOP Social Media & Video Editor: “It has a nice, citrusy kind of finish to it. Very cherry.”

Elly Rowe, WTOP Marketing Director: “Very sweet … I feel like it would be good like sprinkled on ice cream or something like that.”

José Umaña, WTOP Digital Editor: “I thought it was going to be sweeter actually … If you like those little Nerds, it kind of pops in your mouth. I wish it was more chocolatey. The aftertaste is a lot of cherry.”

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Michelle Goldchain

Michelle Goldchain’s reporting has focused primarily on the D.C. area, previously working as Editor of Curbed DC for Vox Media and Audience Growth & Engagement Editor for Washington City Paper. She is the author of "D.C. by Metro: A History & Guide.” She also reports for Artsplained on YouTube.

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