There’s no denying it. Dessert is my favorite course. As such, I have studied it for years through firsthand investigation, and I’m happy to report Jackson Hole’s dessert options are superb, whether you’ve got a hankering for a bonbon made from the world’s finest chocolate with just a hint of ginger (or cayenne, espresso, cardamom, or anise), an update on the classic campfire s’more, or for a lighter-than-air chocolate soufflé. Plus, there’s a restaurant here that makes what I consider to be the world’s best donuts (rolled in cinnamon-sugar and paired with coffee ice cream). They’re made fresh-to-order and arrive at your table piping hot. Another eatery tops the list for a tempura banana split, complete with chocolate and raspberry sauce. Jackson Hole’s pastry chefs take dessert as seriously as I do. I have more than one favorite dessert at most every restaurant in town, but here are five classics you really shouldn’t leave without trying.
Named so simply—“Coffee & Donuts”—you’d most likely miss this if you weren’t advised in advance. Fried fresh shortly after you order them, these donuts at the semi-private Teton Pines Country Club’s restaurant are rolled in cinnamon and sugar and brought to the table still hot and with a bowl of coffee ice cream. Sadly, these are only available at dinner.
You’ll never be able to eat a campfire s’more after having the grown-up version served at Trio in downtown Jackson. They are roasted in a wood-burning oven and served in a cast iron crock; it includes a graham cracker cookie, a Valhrona double chocolate brownie, and a house-made marshmallow. Don’t be afraid to dig in with a knife and fork.
Snake River Grill
Summer or winter, the Snake River Grill has diners who come in just for its signature dessert: a chocolate soufflé in winter and Eskimo bars in summer. Executive chef Jeff Drew calls the former “a delicious diva.” The latter is a frozen brownie topped with a layer of ice cream and then dipped in chocolate. The creation is kept frozen until it’s served, with a side caramel sauce.
This sushi restaurant turns to the valley’s best freelance pastry chefs for its extensive, and oft-changing, dessert menu. The chocolate lava cake and tempura banana split are always options while visiting sweets might include chocolate and peanut-butter pie, lemon-raspberry cake, and coconut ice cream.
Mexican-born, Italian-trained Culinary Olympian Oscar Ortega’s bonbons and Viennoiseries might be among the most delicious you’ve ever tried. His gelato is arguably the best outside of Italy. If you’re eating dinner downtown, don’t be afraid to skip dessert at your restaurant in favor of wandering over here. On winter days locals line up for Ortega’s Mexi-Mochas.