by Amy Bizzarri
Set out on a Valentine’s Day themed tour de chocolat in Chicago!
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 7:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., Sundays 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Start your tour 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 donuts. Specially shaped chocolates–from dark chocolate hearts to creamy white chocolate cupids–are also on hand during the Valentine’s Day season.
Hours: Sun 11 a.m.–6 p.m.; Mon-Thu 10 a.m.–7 p.m.; Fri-Sat 10 a.m.–8 p.m.
The Vosges Haut Chocolat boutique in Lincoln Park, at 951 West Armitage (just near the Armitage brown line CTA stop) is your go-to place for out of the ordinary/interesting chocolate combos. Vosges’ exotic chocolate candy bars–in flavors ranging gingerbread toffee to marzipan–make excellent Valentine’s Day gifts. 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.
Hours: Tues – Thu 8 a.m. -6 p.m.; Fri-Sat 8 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
Vanille Patisserie is a fine French pastry shop, located in the heart of the city at 2229 North Clybourn. 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 which one is 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.
Tropical Treat Nights
Wednesday, February 8 and Wednesday, February 15,
Hours: 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Cost: Free – just drop by!
End your tour by learning more about nature’s treats at the Garfield Park Conservatory’s annual Tropical Treat Nights. You’ll enjoy crafts, sample candies and chocolate, and learn more about the nature behind our favorite indulgences through demonstrations and colorful, interactive displays.
Also, see our guide to Escape to the Tropics in Chicago.