Salt Lake City is a sweet town—friendly, easygoing and fiercely fond of sugar. In fact, it might be the only vice left there, since the Mormon church strongly discourages alcohol, cigarettes and coffee. Menus at many restaurants emphasize sweeter flavors, and the city is full of bakeries, shops and cafés that are doing some deliciously sugary things.
In the aptly named Sugar House neighborhood, I loved the crisp Scandinavian waffles with tangy lingonberry jam and sour cream at Finn’s Cafe, a 1940s diner that was sleekly redone in 2006. Downtown, I had trouble stopping at only four of Romina Rasmussen’s airy, lemony madeleines at her hip Les Madeleines patisserie, which expanded last summer. At the adorable Jack Mormon Coffee Co., one-pound batches of eco-friendly beans are roasted to order (and not just for nonpracticing, or “jack,” Mormons); the coffee is so mellow, no sugar is required.
Some of my best restaurant meals in Salt Lake ended with wonderful desserts. For instance, I finished my lunch of wood oven–fired Margherita pizza at Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana with excellent pistachio gelato from Dolcetti Gelato, which opened its own storefront in Sugar House last year. At the deceptively modest Acme Burger Company, I followed my Acme Breath Enhancer (made with local beef and a silky-sweet roasted garlic aioli) with a knockout bread pudding that was doused in goat’s-milk caramel sauce.
My sweet tooth still not sated, I stopped in at Tony Caputo’s Market & Deli to check out the chocolate selection—close to 300 different bars. That’s where I found Utah’s amazing new Amano Artisan Chocolate, a single-origin line started by software engineer Art Pollard. His Cuyagua bar made from Venezuelan beans is spicy and earthy, with a lingering, perfectly balanced bittersweet flavor.