So what’s Utah like? There’s no place quite like Utah. People tend to know it as either a world-class winter sports and national parks destination, or as the birthplace of Mormonism, as the 15-million-member-strong religion was headquartered here in 1847 following the great Brigham Young-led migration west (now known as the Mormon Trail). Indeed, a huge part of Utah revolves around that natural beauty and that religion, of which 62 percent of the population belong. Forest-covered, ice-capped peaks dominate the landscape; the big open sky of the valleys between are pierced by the imposing steeples of temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS).

When you talk to the locals, the Mormons and the mountain-loving transplants, the ones who moved away and the ones who stayed, you get a fuller picture of Utah: of good-hearted folks with an inborn love for food; of a taste for alcohol swapped out for an obsession with sugar; of a more progressive capital city with a growing brewery scene; of increasing international diversity in the restaurant landscape; of a burgeoning “Silicon slopes” scene that's transformed Utah Valley farmland into a hotbed of hotels, restaurants, shops, and entertainment. Manmade or natural, there’s something for everyone here, including good food, and even a handful of quirky, highly regional dishes and drinks for those of us who are interested.

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