Perhaps your tastes hearken back to your middle school days – big, red wax lips, those soft, gross marshmallow thingies in the shape of peanuts or hard sugar buttons on a paper tape. You can certainly get a nice dose of nostalgia at some of these Chicago shops, but you have to admit that fine, rich chocolate concocted by master chocolatiers is more than a slice of heaven, too.
Amy’s Candy Bar
4704 North Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60625
Any stop in Lincoln Square must include an interlude at Amy’s Candy Bar for malted milk balls, gummies worth your dentist’s wrath, old-fashioned licorice, chewy pistachio nougats and luscious sea salt caramels. There’s elusive imported candy like special gummies from the United Kingdom that Dr. Who fans know all about, as well as locally made artisan confections and whimsical pieces from your past – satellite wafers, salt water taffy, fruit sours and gum balls.
Way, way, way before the hipsters “discovered” Bucktown, old Margie Michaels and her team of sweet ladies were rolling chocolates and serving colossal ice cream sundaes and thick shakes to teenage first dates and families. Hey, The Beatles even stopped in after the group’s gig at Comiskey (you might know it as the Cell). The shop, still owned and operated by Margie’s son, is packed to the gills with tchotchke, hand-dipped chocolates and a genuine sense of nostalgia.
Old Fashioned Candies
6210 Cermak Road
Berwyn, IL 60402
1969 saw Nixon as President, the first walk on the moon, the Woodstock Music Festival and the doors swinging open at Old Fashioned Candies. Nearly 50 years and a generation later, the family-owned biz in Berwyn (there’s another shop in Indian Head Park) still turns out handmade chocolates, toffee, gifts galore and nostalgia pieces. Locals love the shop’s detail with custom gifts and party favors, too. Chocolate-covered strawberries or dipped pretzels are a specialty and be sure to tuck into the free samples by the register.
Related: Best Bistros In Chicago
Katherine Anne Confections
2745 W. Armitage Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
Expect only the highest quality confections made with natural ingredients, innovative candy-making classes and award-winning drinking chocolate at Katherine Anne Confections. Sign up for a truffle making party, sip Mayan hot chocolate or surprise someone with an assortment of confections such as brown butter sage marshmallows, rosemary sea salt or mango chili lime caramels or Limoncello truffles. The shop also has its delicious way with weddings, corporate events and all kinds of parties.
You certainly know where you are and what you’re about to ingest just by the matter-of-fact name. The Lakeview shop slams you with a wall of what used to be called “penny candy” from Pez to candy cigarettes, but there’s also satisfying chocolate from truffles to fudge. In the summer, lots of locals like to lick their Windy City hand-dipped ice cream peeking from pretzel cones on the outdoor patio and watch the world go by. Unusual confections include chocolate bacon cups and chocolate-covered sandwich cookies.
Jacky Runice has been a columnist with the Daily Herald Chicago since grunge music and flannel was the new black. Her fingers and gray matter have been busy as travel editor of Reunions Magazine; penning a column that was syndicated around the nation via Tribune Media Services. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.