Find treats for your sweetheart—or your sweet tooth!
By D. K. Christi
A “sweet” Valentine’s holiday begins with Estero’s wide variety of sweet shops. Whether it’s chocolates, ice cream, Italian gelato and pastries, French macarons or fruit smoothies, everyone can find a treat to enjoy – from decadently indulgent to naturally sweet.
The Sigh of Love
Sospiri is an Italian word that represents the “sigh” associated with being in love, as found in ancient legends around marriage.
“We named our business at Coconut Point Mall with two thoughts – the thought of a loving sigh and the memory of a small Italian pastry by the same name in Italy – our home until we moved to Estero and opened Sospiri,” said Antonella S. Campuddu, co–owner and manager of catering and pastries. Her spouse, Mauro Filippeddu, is co-owner and the gelato chef.
“Sospiri is authentic Italian from the warm, family environment of the shop to the pastries that carry their heart and soul from their original home in Italy – it’s who they are,” said Mike Hunter, a frequent customer. “They put love and passion into everything they do.”
The Italian cafe offerspaninis, espresso drinks and Italian pastries.Sospiri’s freshItalian gelato is made in-house daily with imported flavorings from Italy.
“Gelato is not made to freeze as hard as ice cream, using milk and less fat and sugar,” explained Campuddu. “Served warmer, Italian gelato must be made fresh. With no ice crystals, it is smoother than ice cream.”
Tucked in the breezeway by the fountain at Coconut Point, Sospiri Italian Cafe and Gelato has a European aura that locals love. Customer Juliana Cauey said she stops at Sospiri for the creamy gelato and the “best cappuccino.”
Campuddu was shocked nearly to tears when one of her customers told her Sospiri was on the “Estero-opoly” game sold at the Estero Walmart — the only Estero sweet shop to make the game board.
Sospiri has recently expanded its reach into the community by bringing its vintage-looking gelato cart to local events and catering at private parties.
Ice Cream Dreams
Shelton and Laura Decker first met on a blind date at Coconut Point Mall. Now married, the Estero couple’s love story has come full circle with the recent opening of their own ice cream shop, Naples Gourmet Ice Cream, on the east side of the mall near Regal Cinemas.
“Opening here — the first of many planned gourmet ice cream stores —completes a full circle for us,” Shelton Decker said.
How “gourmet” is their ice cream? Try this sweet combo suggested by associate Sydney Williams for a Valentine’s version of the shop’s custom-designed, hand-dipped creations: “White chocolate macadamia nut cookies with strawberry cheesecake ice cream, mini white chocolates with red heart sprinkles, topped with whipped cream and a red cherry.”
Generously-sized, white–chocolate–chip macadamia nut cookies (and other varieties) can also be used as the base of a handmade ice cream sandwich, filled with any ice cream flavor the customer desires.
Miromar Outlets has also added a new ice cream shop. Hershey’s Ice Cream and Real Fruit Smoothies recently opened next to WINK Playland and the rock climbing walls.
“Real” smoothies means using real fruit andonly fresh and natural ingredients with no artificial preservatives. Hershey’s has 20 flavorsto choose from with fresh fruit like blueberries, avocado, coconut and passion fruit.
At Hershey’s, customers will find familiar favorites like “Moose Tracks”and new flavors like “LlamaLicious.” Iced and frozen coffee drinks or a nostalgic shaved ice are also a treat.
Stone Mountain Creamery on the north side of Coconut PointMall, ice cream is made in small batches daily.
“Everything is made on site, from the ice cream to the waffle cones, with fresh ingredients,” said owner and Estero resident Habib “Ben” Benali.
Customers make the ultimate choices for ice cream and sundaes and watch as their unique ice cream creations are mixed.Combinations are nearly endless with many rich, creamy ice cream flavors and toppings.
Ending on a Sweet Note
Looking for something different? Le Macaron French Pastries offers an eye-catching assortment of its signature macarons that are as vibrant to the eye as they are to the palate. This French pastry shop at Miromar Outlets also features gourmet chocolates, French gelato, European–style coffee drinks, classic French pastries and homemade candies.
Finally, no list of local sweet shops would be complete without the artistry of Normal Love. A Southwest Florida award-winning success story, Norman Love Confections creates airbrushed chocolates with stunning visual appeal. As well as providing a delicious and satisfying treat, these chocolatesare an elegant gift for Valentine’s Day or any occasion. Nothing says “love” quite like a box of Norman Love convections.
Gelato, fresh artisan muffins, croissants, brownies, cookies and pastries accompanied by coffee, latte, espresso, macchiato, chai and cold beverages are also on the menu at Norman Love Confections in Miromar Outlets.
No matter what your sweetheart — or your sweet tooth — is craving, you’ll find it at one of Estero’s many sweet shops!
Check out this roundup of gift and date ideas from Estero’s sweet shops!
Visit the Sospiri Italian Cafe and Gelato shop at Coconut Point Mall with your sweetheart, or host a sweet event catered by the Sospiri gelato cart( or 239.949.1315)
For sweetness throughout the year, purchase a subscription from any of these shops for a monthly sweet treat!