Wise was the person who said, "Life is short. Eat dessert first."
That person's name may have been lost to history, but their message is immortal, living on in the hearts of children and chocoholics the world over.
But for those stuck in the "not until your plate is clean," mentality, there may be no better place to reform than Summit County.
It boasts almost as many dessert locales, specialty sweet shops and bakeries as it does traditional restaurants, featuring everything from cupcakes to crepes to original recipes.
So yeah, dinner can wait.
Breckenridge is arguably the hub of dessert commerce in Summit County. There are dozens of options, from incredible last course menus at dine-in restaurants to candy shops tucked at the back of toy stores. Mary's Mountain Cookies and Rocky Mountain Cupcakes are among my favorites. They know their trades and they don't mess around. If you're in the mood for a cookie or a cupcake, these will be among the best you've ever tasted.
But the true taste of Breckenridge when it comes to dessert is Crepes A La Carte. I won't pretend it's a locals' secret or a gem hidden off the beaten path. It's right there on Main Street, usually with a line around the corner. But the trussed-up little vendor cart is popular for a good reason.
The thin pancakes are oversized and made-to-order, iced with the customer's choice of toppings. Options include cinnamon, lemon, maple, chocolate, fruit, sugar, Grand Marnier, cream, walnuts and caramel. I take mine with Nutella and banana slices.
But come prepared: the crepes are big (and expensive) enough to share and A La Cart only takes cash.
When on the hunt for a sugar fix in Frisco, it is tempting to beeline for the Butterhorn Bakery, one of the more prominent and well-known establishments on Main Street. It certainly wouldn't be a mistake to do so; the display cases inside are stocked with gorgeous pastries. But the bakery's bread and butter (pun intended) is breakfast and it closes up shop around 2 p.m. Still, for those who didn't eat dessert first, all is not lost. There are a number of other dessert options in Frisco, including Foote's Rest Sweet Shoppe, a new house of indulgence that opened up shop this month in a historic building that was once a post office, general store and home to the current owner's ancestors.
Foote's Rest offers all the nibble-worthy fare necessary for a leisurely stroll down the main street of a little destination town: bulk candy, ice cream and fudge. The treats are homemade from family recipes, and kids can watch their creation through an old post office window into the fudge kitchen.
Blue Moon Bakery in Silverthorne is like a candy store for grown ups. Flashbacks to the childhood ecstasy of finding walls lined with sweets and the wonderful feeling that it might be impossible to choose just one thing are unavoidable entering the unlikely storefront tucked into a shopping center just off I-70.
Display cases dominate the lobby, stocked with every baked good and pastry imaginable, including cookies, brownies, blondies, cupcakes, eclairs, bars, rum rolls and cakes. The staff says customers' pick is the carrot cake, a full flavored dessert topped with uncharacteristically light cream frosting. The head baker prefers the raspberry coconut bar, despite her usual tendency toward chocolate. My top choice is the lemon bar, although I sampled all three and more and can safely say it's hard to go wrong. The sweet standard among the variety of options is that they all have the traditional, homemade character of comfort food.
And the prices are even sweeter: baked goods generally run in the neighborhood of $3-$4.