Festival of Sweets | Restaurant Reviews | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Festival of Sweets 

The One Sweet Festival is the Coachella of local sweet shops.

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  • Alex Springer

I've had a serious sweet tooth lately, and it's all my three-year-old daughter's fault. She's knee-deep in the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory phase of her film viewing, which means I've seen that film—both the 1971 and 2005 versions—around 750 times in the past few weeks. Needless to say, entering Roald Dahl's edible world of pure imagination that often has left me craving sweets of all shapes and sizes. It's led me deep into the chocolate marshmallow rabbit hole of Utah's up and coming bakers, chocolatiers and candy makers, and I'm quite impressed with the variety and talent I've seen.

Luckily, this series of cravings coincided with the second annual One Sweet Festival (onesweetfestival.com), a locally-organized celebration of Utah sweets. Last year the festival took place in the heart of Provo, but this year they opted for the more centralized location of the Shops at South Town. Many of One Sweet Festival's vendors are mobile, so candy-colored food trucks of all descriptions descended on the west side of the mall for an outdoor, pandemic-considerate event. As I've been erring on the side of caution when it comes to culinary events, I took advantage of the festival's curbside pickup option and curated my own little goodie bag from a few local sweet shops worth checking out.

Momo's Gourmet Cheesecake: You know those ice cream shops that have a two-columned list of shake options that you're expected to read, evaluate and select from in the time it takes to get to the cash register? That's the Momo's approach to cheesecake. They've got cheesecake flavors that I'd never dared to dream—everything from cinnamon roll to s'mores—along with an only slightly-less-huge list of crust options. They're all about customization, so if you'd like a turtle cheesecake in a snickerdoodle cookie crust, your wish is their command. I tried a few different options during the festival, but the one that stole my heart was simply called The Momo. It's a peaches-and-cream cheesecake served on a graham cracker crust, and creamy whipped cheesecake topped with juicy peaches is officially the perfect dessert to celebrate the transition from summer into fall. (1364 N. Freedom Boulevard, Provo, 801-372-9115, momoscheesecakes.com)

A & B Bakery: The cake wizards at A & B Bakery specialize in the kind of cake decorating you'd see on Food Network, and their recipes embody a slightly more European flair. When they're on the road, they transport their posh recipes into smaller, serving-sized cups of tiramisu or panna cotta. Though they were unfortunately out of their luscious-looking honey cake, I still managed to get hold of their poppyseed raspberry cake, which was a fluffy and slightly tart dream of a dessert. This is a place that whips up a killer pastry cream and knows how to use it. The poppyseed raspberry cake is layered with pleasantly spongy poppyseed cake, macerated raspberries and loads of that perfect pastry cream for a surprisingly nuanced set of flavors. (facebook.com/ab.bakery.slc)

Sconey Island Fried Bread and Drink Emporium: This place was the resident dark horse of the One Sweet Festival. There's something audacious about a menu that consists entirely of scones slathered in a variety of sugary condiments and a devilish roster of hot or cold "sconeys"—homemade soft drinks spun from the fever dream of a sugared-up six-year-old. The scones are perfect for anyone craving the fried cuisine of the state fair, as they come with toppings like lemon curd, Nutella, Bavarian cream and cookie butter. The cold sconeys are a riskier venture, however. Halfway through my Pink Flamingo—a mix of white chocolate, raspberry and banana liquids (milk, maybe?) topped with whipped cream and sprinkles—I could see the fabric of reality start to get a little blurry around the edges. The cold sconeys will show you things you may not be ready for, so buyer beware. (sconeyisland.net)

Ruby Snap: After visiting with so many new vendors at the festival, I was relieved to see one of my longtime favorites participating. For those who don't know, Ruby Snap is one of Salt Lake's finest purveyors of gourmet cookies. Their retro, punk-rock homemaker aesthetic and their pinup-inspired lineup of chewy cookies have made them a Utah institution. All their cookies are delightful, but there are a few lovely ladies that make this place shine. The Vivianna stole my heart during the summer of my senior year in college with her brown sugar crust, chocolate chip soul and mango accent. After her came Audrey, whose white dark chocolate smile and dried cranberry dimples obscured a complicated heart of almond. Lately I find myself caught between the spiced chocolate richness of Frida and the tart citrus grin of Lola. Many have asked if it's possible to be in love with more than one cookie named after a woman, and the answer is a resounding yes. (770 S. 300 West, 801-834-6111, rubysnap.com)

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