These candy-making classes are too darn sweet

OK, he’s not actually Willy Wonka. His name is Pete, but his delicious empire is as tasty and exciting as Wonka’s, without a golden ticket needed for entry. The newest spot on Chicagoland’s sweets scene is Sweet Pete’s located in Market Square of Lake Forest.

Sweet Pete’s

270 Market Sq.

Lake Forest, IL 60045


From the moment you walk through the doors at Sweet Pete’s — and are handed a handmade caramel sample — you’re in a Candyland game come to life. From the checkered floor to the gummy bear light fixtures to the magnificent sugar displays, everything about this store screams sweet fun.

No matter your sweet tooth, this spot has you covered with every kind of candy imaginable. Sweet Pete’s sells chocolate in every variety and concoction, from chocolate-covered potato chips and bacon to pure dark chocolate bars and everything in between.

Shop gummies galore — butterflies, bears, army men and footlong snacks — and salt water taffy. Peruse various hard candies, including ones that look like rocks and bricks that actually interlock for kids to build with.

The real appeal of Sweet Pete’s though is the events. Tucked away under this candy shop is where candy-lovers young and old can turn into candy creators on par with Willie Wonka and Russell Stover. Sweet Pete’s holds regular candy-making classes for adults and children (ages 5 and up).

Classes are an hour long and range in price from $15-25 depending on the class. You can also book any of the classes as a private party.

For my 5-year-old’s birthday, we invited her friends and classmates to create and pull their own taffy. My daughter loves taffy and the whole experience perfectly suited her bubbly, sweet personality. The birthday girl got to pick the color she wanted for the taffy and the flavor — pink watermelon.

The kids learned a bit about candy science as they watched the ingredients being mixed and boiled right in front of them. When the mixture was ready, everyone was given a pile and learned how to pull taffy. It was a super messy and fun time, and everyone got to taste and bring home their candy.

Other classes include handmade lollipops, chocolate bars, chocolate pizzas and truffles. Sweet Pete’s also offer seasonal classes such as chocolate apples, candy canes and Easter marshmallows. This June, they’re offering special “Get Limed” classes that include key lime pie, hand-pulled lollipops or lime taffy. They are also now offering a make-your-own soda pop class!

For your youngest candy connoisseurs, don’t miss out on Sweet Pete’s Toddler Time. This special time is for children ages 2-4 every Friday at 10 a.m. The 45-minute class is $7.50 per toddler and includes telling tots a story and making their own sweet treat. Parents are free. They do require reservations due to space constraints, so be sure to call the Lake Forest store at 847-283-9500 to reserve your spot in the next class.

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