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For a tiny mountain town, Telluride has its fair share of dynamic food experiences. Alongside fine-dining eateries, you’ll find everything from bakeries and chocolatiers to farmers’ markets and a microbrewery. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors rounded up the best Telluride food experiences to help you navigate this alpine destination:
1. The Sweet Life. Satisfy your sweet tooth at Telluride’s only homemade ice cream parlor, where tubs are filled with flavors ranging from classic vanilla to “worms and dirt.” The Sweet Life also has a candy counter, a hit with the kids.
2. Telluride Truffle. Another place to cure your hankering for sweets is at Telluride Truffle. A divine concoction of organic Colorado cream, high-quality liqueurs and spirits, and natural flavors like banana and hazelnut create the distinctive triangular shapes that echo the peaks surrounding Telluride. The preservative-free chocolates are named after local places and favorite pastimes.
3. Telluride Brewing Company. The local brewing company sources its water from Rocky Mountain snowmelt — filtered, of course — and adds in premium malts, hops and yeasts. Try the Face-Down Brown, which took home the gold at the 2012 World Beer Cup. Visit the tasting room to sip on several different brews.
4. Baked in Telluride. There’s no better place to experience the flavor of Telluride. This funky side-street bakery, pizza parlor and burrito dispensary is a longtime hangout for ski bums. Regulars catch the morning rays on the east-facing patio, even in the winter.
5. Telluride Farmers’ Market. Considering Telluride’s lofty elevation, it’s quite a feat that there’s a farmers’ market each week from early June until mid-October. Featuring locally farmed goods like vegetables, fruit and flowers within a 100-mile radius, the Telluride Farmers’ Market takes place every Friday between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. during the summer on the Gondola Plaza. You’ll also find crafts by local artisans such as jewelry, pottery and clothing.
On the mountain, the ski resort has made a big change in recent years, trying to carve out a niche as America’s most European ski dining experience, and it succeeded. Here we eat to ski, in Europe they ski to eat, and Telluride may change things with its excellent Alpino Vino, a chalet featuring amazing Italian charcuterie, gourmet grilled sandwiches and a huge wine list. Bon Vivant is another fun and lively Euro-centric on-mountain optin, this one specializing in French fare and outdoor joie de vivre. Both are not to be missed by skiers. Telluride is a very wealthy but very laid back town, and the scales here tip more to casual than fine dining, and even the fine dining is relaxed and unpretentious. But that does not mean the food is not excellent – two of the town’s most popular eateries are a pizzeria and a barbecue joint, but they happen to be the best pizzeria and best barbecue joint at any ski resort in the US. Brown Dog Pizza serves the very unique Detroit-style pizza, virtually impossible to find outside of Michigan, backed in a steel pan sort of like New York’s Sicilian but much less bready. What used to be Back Alley BBQ moved to a prominent new location next to the main gondola at the foot of the ski resort, and is now called Oak (The New Fat Alley) but has the same great Alabama owner and the same world-class ribs, better than most you would get in Memphis, plus a deep and curated bourbon list. Telluride also has some funky street carts, both in Mountain Village’s main plaza and on Main Street in town, serving everything from Swedish meatballs to savory popovers.