17
Dec
2014
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Dining

The Joys of Freshly Baked Goods

Upon entering—or even just walking by—the Konditorei in Sun Valley Village, the first thing our senses pick up are the delightful and mouthwatering smells of the bakery.

The aromas of fresh pastries and croissants, cookies and cakes waft around like little invisible clouds of happiness. They're those comforting smells that instantly call us back to our grandmother or mom's kitchen on a holiday morning, and they beckon us to come see the glass display cases filled with the tasty treats. And once we actually get to see the artfully, handcrafted delights, it's all over. We don't just want to have something, heck, we need to!

Luckily, the exceptionally friendly crew at the Konditorei doesn't seem to mind if you start drooling.

Chris McCarthy is the master mind/pastry chef behind the Konditorei's bakery. Born in the old St. Moritz hospital in Sun Valley, Chris is a true local with strong family ties and a deep bond to this stunning land. He loves to snowboard, to hunt, to shoot trap with his family at the Gun Club and to fly fish—just as you'd expect the from the grandson of legendary local angler Dick Alfs.

That's why Chris was so happy to return to the valley after first earning a degree at the Arizona Culinary Institute and then plying his culinary craft for years working as a pastry chef at legendary eateries like Sea Island in Georgia, the Ritz Carlton in Naples, Florida, and at David Burke's in The Venetian in Las Vegas. Both locals and visitors are also delighted he's brought his world-class pastry skills home to Sun Valley as well.

Offering more than 100 items during busy times, the Konditorei can easily sell out its entire display twice a day, and if you don't get there early, you'll often have trouble finding anymore croissants or muffins or a handful of other treats that go almost as soon as they get out of the oven.

"What we do here is really unique. There's really nothing else like us around. Everything is done 100% from scratch, fresh everyday," Chris said about why the Konditorei has such a rabid—but well behaved, besides the occasional public drooling—fan base.

"Most places don't create everything from scratch. It's easier to buy premade, but there's no pride in it," Chris said, about the old school techniques he first learned cooking with his family when he was a kid. "It's more tedious and time consuming, but if you put your heart in to it and you do everything right and you nail it, people will really appreciate it. They'll love it and it will bring them joy … at least that's what we try to do."

Chris and his crew of four pastry chefs are clearly succeeding in those efforts.

Besides the morning treats, the Konditorei has a solid following for numerous treats, like their signature Sun Valley chocolate chip cookies—which are sometimes overnighted to adoring fans as far away as New York! Items like the authentic Austrian-style Apple Strudel and Mouse Trio (to name just a couple) accompanied by the Konditorei's new specialty blend and fresh roasted coffees have really begun to create a near cult following for the place. Konditorei is also now offering preorders of holiday treats like Yule Logs and Cookie Tins, and regularly creates unique wedding and cakes of all types.

Since they'll soon be adding more health conscious options like gluten, sugar and dairy-free and vegan options, the fan base is only going to grow.

But that's okay with Chris and his enthusiastic team of pastry chefs. They don't mind having to work the occasional 18-hour days or arrive at 5 a.m. (even on fresh powder days!). Happy palates are worth it.

"It really doesn't matter what it takes to create something. It's about the experience you're creating for the guest," Chris said, explaining that pastries and baked goods are really "comfort foods." "If those people are enjoying something you've made and they're feeling all warm and tingly, you know you did your job."


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Birding Heaven


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If you like to birdwatch, Sun Valley has an amazing opportunity for you. A three-day “Birds of a Feather” itinerary includes amazing early summer birding on the one-of-a-kind Silver Creek Preserve and the beautiful Camas Prairie Marsh with lots of time built in to learn, socialize, nibble, and nosh. From June 1 – 4, join fellow minded enthusiasts for demonstrations, presentations, and guided birding field excursions. All levels of birders are welcome.
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