101 N. Fir Street, Telluride, 970/728-9565
Since 1997, Telluride Truffle has become a confectionary staple in Telluride. Piping hot cocoa, handcrafted truffles and irresistible ice cream sundaes are served year-round in Telluride, Mountain Village and Lawson Hill.
On first glance, you wouldn’t know its Lawson Hill kitchen headquarters have been bustling for the last month confecting Easter sweets for Easter Sunday.
Rather than the conventional sedentary Easter bunny, Telluride Truffle’s Telluride Easter Bunny is an active hiker, complete with a satchel.
“I had to chose one bunny mold that I thought spoke as much about Telluride as it could, and I could find no better one!” said Telluride Truffle owner Patty Denny.
Denny started selling her mountain peak-themed Telluride Truffles on the Internet, and was so successful, she soon opened a retail shop in town.
Denny has seen consistent growth ever since. Her chefs are kept busy year-round, but, like most businesses in Telluride, there’s a strong seasonal element to this confectionary shop.
“Christmas is definitely our busiest time of year – two chefs will crank out 35,000 truffles over the course of two months. But Easter is picking up,” Denny said, while trimming excess chocolate from a fresh-out-of-the-mold bunny.
Standing in the kitchen, looking at everything from bustling chefs churning out trays full of fuchsia and gold-accented truffles to freshly-wrapped festive Easter baskets ($28 to $68) – made from chocolate, mind you – ready to put a smile on parents and children across the country, I found smiling with pleasure.
But if Denny’s kitchen resembles a ski town Willy Wonka factory, her Telluride Truffle shop in Telluride is more like the famed Tiffany windows on New York’s Fifth Ave., stocked with ready-to-go Easter baskets and, of course, truffles.
Denny’s truffles aren’t just mouthwatering – they’re eye candy, with names like Powder Day, Snowcapped, Mud Season and First Tracks.
There’s Class 5, a raspberry and bittersweet chocolate truffle, with a cascading smear of white chocolate running down its triangle front like a river. The Black Diamond is my favorite, with its sprinkle of salt, topping of dark chocolate and a slash of tequila (sometimes needed to get down Telluride’s arduous black diamond ski runs).
Savoring this truffle, I couldn’t help but feel the rhythmic bumps on Kant Mak’m, the powdery feel of the Palmyra Basin or the excitement felt on top of Bald Mountain, ready to hit Jackpot.
But Telluride Truffle’s most impressive offering is the ganache ($16 per jar).
“I try to do what’s better than what’s on the market,” said Denny, and she succeeds.
She recommends serving the ganache warm and creamy, over ice cream; for a late-night snack, fill a small saucepan halfway with water, put it on the burner to simmer,plunk the ganache in the center of the saucepanand watch its putty-like texture melt into oil-thick goodness. The secret, said Denny, is in the ingredients. “There’s almost no syrup in our ganache. Almost all syrups are filled with corn syrup.”
But her anti-corn syrup policy means the containers aren’t sealed.
“Here, have this,” said Denny reaching into a large freezer and handing me one.
“Just make sure you put it in the fridge or freezer when you’re done!”
Later that night, served heated over freezer-fresh Rocky Road, I couldn’t have felt better.
Price Point: Each truffle costs about $3, but the intricate designs and elegant flavors make it worth the price.
The Vibe: Cool in the summer, warm in winter. When looking at the truffles in their glass case, try not to drool.
What else? If you’re not in the area, no problem: Telluride Truffle offers an assortment of gifts online. Cookies, hot chocolate mixtures, packages of truffles – you name it, they’ve got it.
The Telluride Truffle store on Fir St. (behind Sunglass HQ) is open daily during the off season, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; the factory store in Lawson Hill (104 Society Drive, next to the Conoco station) is open from Monday through Friday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The Mountain Village Telluride Truffle store will open in mid-June.