There's one very good reason to focus on sweets as a special treat during your next meeting or event. Neuroscientists have discovered that sucrose leads to dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens, an area of the brain associated with motivation, novelty and reward. If you’re looking for a brain and sugar rush, here’s a roundup of sweet treats in the Denver metro area and beyond.
When it comes to desserts, Yours Truly Cupcake has got you covered for guests up to 1,200 with cake nuggets in a variety of flavors, which can be tailored to your theme. Owner Tiffany Rose Goodyear says, “I get real excited about figuring out how to provide something unique that is both on-brand and memorable.” Yours Truly also spins up cotton candy in unusual flavors.
Grace Anshutz, special events coordinator for Roundup River Ranch, hired Yours Truly for the organization’s “A Taste of Camp” event at Denver Center for the Performing Arts. “Yours Truly was able to incorporate both our theme of bringing camp to the city as well as our camp theme, ‘Reach for the Stars,’” she shares.
Pete Bredemann, owner of Peteybird, launched his ice cream sandwich business by pedaling, and then peddling from a pink bike. Using an 11-step process (which takes a week), Bredemann uses locally sourced milk to craft his creations, which are made without artificial flavors or preservatives.
Peteybird treats became so popular that Bredemann now owns a brick-and-mortar shop, but for meetings and events he’ll still bring a bike. Planners also can choose from a large cart, cooler, lemonade-style stand or a person making rounds with a serving tray. Peteybird has 11 ice cream sandwich flavors and eight frozen pop options on their catering menu, but Bredemann is happy to make custom treats for clients. Peteybird can serve up to 4,000 guests at 600 people per hour.
Ricki Booker, event coordinator for Ricki Booker Events, has used Peteybird for everything from end-of-life celebrations to mitzvahs. “Their sandwiches are delicious and bite-size, so they are easy to eat on the go,” she says. “Their presentations are adorable, so not only do they offer delicious dessert, they also add to the décor of the space.”
It’s hard to miss the giant metal milk can that serves as the Little Man Ice Cream landmark. On-site, Little Man rents the back patio, which includes ice cream service that allows groups to skip the typically long lines. Off-site, Little Man caters for groups of up to 5,000. Uniformed employees in vintage ice cream hats and aprons serve scoops in waffle cones with all the trimmings. Planners also can opt for a self-serve sundae bar.
Another way to get brain candy, as well as brain freeze, is to hire AikoPops. The gourmet popsicle company has served up to 5,000 of their frozen treats in a day. It can handle such large capacity by strategically setting up four carts to avoid long lines.
For those who’d like to work off some calories, Local Table Tours can customize sweetsfocused walking tours in Denver, Boulder or Fort Collins that might include coffee and donuts at a coffee shop, pastries at an artisan bakery and a stop for ice cream. The company also can design options in Boulder or Fort Collins. Uncorked Kitchen & Wine Bar in Centennial customizes team-building parties like competition-style interactive cook-offs.
The recently opened French for Sugar, a pink building in the heart of Denver’s Capitol Hill district, features a turn-key space, the Le Reve Event Room, that can accommodate up to 37 guests. French for Sugar stages afternoon teas, baby and bridal showers, and cocktail parties or will tailor team-building activities such as “Cakes Meet Cocktails,” where attendees can enjoy cocktails and appetizers while learning to decorate cakes and cookies. Owner Michelle Hadden Weekley explains, “We offer a whole experience but let planners drive the bus on what would be best for their whole group of people.”
For other options, Chocolate Lab sells buyouts of the restaurant space for tastings or sit-down eating experiences, while The Dessert Stand offers classes for groups of up to a dozen at its location or hire the business’s vintage dessert truck that will come to you.
Speaking of food trucks, they are a unique way to sugarcoat meetings or events. Love Pop creates decadent desserts, paired cocktails and adult “juice boxes” and serves them on a van, flatbed truck and trailer, all three beautifully restored. Planners have used the flatbed for a DJ stage and elevated buffet, while the van and trailer can be utilized as a bar and serving spaces. Owners Barkley Eberline and Jeff Santangelo also rent handcrafted harvest tables made from beetle kill pine and patina metal.
Another option is the Love Pop Cinema, where they bring along a 16-foot screen, projector and sound and cook up your choice of concessions. Santangelo and Eberline recently purchased a building with a backyard that when renovated will serve as a food-hall-type event space.
Hopefully after reading this, you’re hankering to give your employees or clients their just desserts.
The Front Range isn’t the only place you can get a sugar rush in Colorado …
>> Third Bowl Homemade Ice Cream has a location in downtown Crested Butte and will bring its food truck or cart to a local event. Off-site, Third Bowl can serve a maximum of 300 with up to eight flavors. thirdbowl.com
>> Gold Star Pies in Colorado Springs can park its food truck at an event and dole out homemade artisan pies with hand-rolled crusts. goldstarpies.com
>> Revolution Artisan Pops in Fort Collins offers custom carts and flavors. revolutionartisanpops.com
>> Durango’s Indulge Dessert Kitchen bakes beignet-tiramisu shooters and pie and cake pops for meetings and events. indulgedessertkitchen.com
>> Vail’s Larkspur Events & Dining is famous for its Petit Dessert Station that includes seasonal, bite-size tartlets, handmade Valrhona truffles, mini caramel apple tarts, Saigon cinnamon doughnuts, French macaroons, cake pops, cookies and bars. Larkspur can serve 500 on-site. larkspurvail.com
>> April Marie Events can set up a dessert wine extravaganza at a vineyard in Palisade that includes tastings of the region’s sweet wines along with paired desserts. aprilmarieevents.com