Telluride, CO: The Great Dane Offers Unique Street Food

Luisa Rivas fills aebleskivers with chocolate hazelnut filling Friday at The Great Dane. [Photo by Heather Sackett]

By Heather Sackett | Telluride Daily Planet

Luisa Rivas fills aebleskivers with chocolate hazelnut filling Friday at The Great Dane. [Photo by Heather Sackett]

Traditional Danish aebleskivers can be sweet or savory

Longtime lover of Telluride Diki Wackenstedt came to town last February to see how her southern California blood would withstand the winter here. She holed up in her home, spending hours a day making a Danish comfort food her mother used to make: aebleskivers. Two months and 12 pounds later, Wackenstedt had not only survived the winter, she had perfected her recipe for the traditional Danish popovers. She is now sharing her creations at Telluride’s newest food cart, The Great Dane.

“I wanted to do something where I could be outside, meet people, and I thought I could bring something to Telluride with the uniqueness of the cart,” Wackenstedt said.

Aebleskivers are little popovers, kind of like fried bread dough, that can be filled with savory or sweet ingredients. Traditionally made with apple slices, Wackenstedt’s menu has expanded to include bananas and chocolate hazelnut, ham and cheese, and raspberry jam and whipped cream. Kids’ favorite is simple cinnamon and sugar, she said. This weekend she added meatballs, potatoes and gravy to the mix.

Aebleskivers also require a special cast iron griddle to form them into perfectly round balls and knitting needles to carefully turn them.

Wackenstedt was greeted with unwelcome 70-mile-per-hour winds on her opening weekend, May 26, but things have improved since then, she said. She already has repeat customers, some of which request their own original aebleskiver concoctions, mixing sweet and savory.

“The repeat customers are what’s the most rewarding,” she said.

The challenge, Wackenstedt said, is getting people to sample something a little different from traditional food cart fare. To that end, she offers free samples to passers-by at her cart in front of Elks Park.

She will also be opening a cart soon, with the help of her friend Luisa Rivas, in Mountain Village on the weekends and during festivals. For now, she plans to have her cart on Colorado Avenue open six days a week, taking Tuesdays off.

Wackenstedt is something of an entrepreneur, running party and costumes shops in California before coming to Telluride. She closed up shop, along with her house, just inland from Malibu, to spend the summer here.

“There’s something with Telluride that’s magical and draws you back,” she said. “I had to figure out something I could do to make ends meet.”