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Wisconsin Parent

Eat Dessert First in Theresa, Wisconsin

Dec 11, 2013 09:37PM ● By Julie Henning
Embracing the mantra to eat dessert first, once you meet restaurant owner and chocolatier extraordinaire Joel Bernhard, you’ll know why life is sweet.

Blind since the age of two, Bernhard has been perfecting his craft since 2000. From his first truffle in culinary school, two years of education, hard work, and an entrepreneurial spirit, Bernhard opened the doors to Confections for Any Occasion in 2002 and has been tempting sweet teeth for the past decade.

Joel BernhardLocated in the sleepy town of Theresa (pronounced “the-ressa” for those of us wanting to sound like we fit in). Confections for Any Occasion is a fifteen-minute drive southwest of Fond du Lac, a community of 45,000 nestled at the foot Lake Winnebago--Wisconsin’s largest inland lake. Unassuming by its common-looking facade at 101 North Milwaukee Street, blink and you might miss where Joel has set up shop.

Exterior Confections for Any OccasionPart soda fountain, part restaurant, and a whole lotta Norman Rockwell, Confections for Any Occasion features homemade chocolates, toffee, popcorn, caramels, truffles, jar candies, fudge, cheese, sausage, honey, syrup, and nostalgic/novelty candy*. With great pride in supporting Wisconsin-based companies like Cedar Crest Ice Cream, Sprecher gourmet soda, and local vineyards (find specific example here), Bernhard also uses regionally sourced dairy and nuts in his kitchen space.

Candy SelectionA small dining room holds 25 (or so) patrons, who are welcome to order from the standard menu, noting daily soup and sandwich specials. Kids’ menu prices are set at an affordable $2.95, but you could splurge for a Sloppy Joe plate with homemade potato chips for a mere $4.50. Or at $1/each, you can’t go wrong with a soft shell taco.

Soda Fountain

For travelers resisting the urge to slow down, “to go” orders can be called in and picked up at your convenience (don’t be surprised to spot “regulars” popping in to pick up their order with a bit of town “news”). Group tours of the facility are available with advance notice.

* For the dieter or diabetic in your life, a delightfully sweet selection of sugar-free candies are available online and behind the counter.

Note: A slightly different version of this same was originally published on Road trips for Families. You can read it here.

Next up: Our favorite cheese haus in the state of Wisconsin? With so many to choose from, we’ll send an order of organic curds to the first correct guesser. Leave a comment and we'll contact you if you've won.