Sweet home Chicago is exactly right. The city is filled with treats sure to wow chocolate lovers. Make it family fun by creating a rich tour de chocolat for Valentine's Day-or any other day for that matter.
Start your sweet adventure at the House of Fine Chocolates in Lakeview where you'll find everything chocolate, including éclairs, truffles, non-pareils, tartes, tortes, Bundt cakes, cookies and pies. Your children will be in awe of the beautiful display cases loaded with the best treats in the city. Saturday and Sunday mornings are the perfect time to stop in for fresh pastries and doughnuts. Specially shaped chocolates-from dark chocolate Santas to creamy white chocolate Snowmen-are on hand during the holidays.
The Vosges Haut Chocolat boutique in Lincoln Park (near the Armitage brown line CTA stop) is your go-to place for out-of-the-ordinary, interesting chocolate combinations. Vosges' exotic chocolate candy bars-in flavors ranging from gingerbread toffee to marzipan-make excellent holiday gifts and stocking stuffers. Kids and adults alike will revel in peanut butter bonbons, caramel chocolate marshmallows, fanciful truffles and bombalinas, traditional roasted nuts paired with chocolate and other unique flavors.
Vanille Patisserie is a fine French pastry shop in the heart of the city. Using a traditional recipe from Montellimar (where nougat originated) the pastry chefs at Vanille create three varieties of delectable Nougat: Natural, chocolate and pistachio. Delight in an array of artisan chocolates in flavors such as Coffee Caramel, Strawberry Lemongrass, Earl Grey Tea, Creamy Banana, Salted Caramel and Praline. Discover your favorite by asking for a sample. Stay awhile and warm up to a pain au chocolat (chocolate-filled croissant) and a hot cocoa topped with freshly whipped cream.
End your tour by learning more about nature's treats at the Garfield Park Conservatory's annual Sweet Saturdays celebration. On the first two Saturdays of February, you'll enjoy crafts, sample candies and chocolate, and learn more about the nature behind chocolate through demonstrations and colorful, interactive displays.
Amy Bizzarri is a mom of two living in Logan Square. She also blogs at tiramisumom.com.
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