The 6 Best Chocolate Shops in Northern Illinois

The 6 Best Chocolate Shops in Northern Illinois
When you think of Illinois cuisine, Chicago delicacies tend to get all the love and attention. Granted, there’s a ton of choices and plenty of talented people creating delicious food in the city. However, there are great things happening throughout the Chicago tri-state area.

Today, we’re focusing on the sweeter side of things. Our list includes chocolatiers residing in the suburbs—discover six of our favorite chocolate shops in northern Illinois.

Ethereal Confections

113 S. Benton St. Woodstock, IL (in the historic Square)

Ethereal Confections
Upon visiting Ethereal Confections, yousample their delicious pastries, chocolates, and unique beverages—all made from scratch. They don’t cut any corners here, especially when it comes to their own unique creations such as melting chocolate and mixing it with cream to make a wonderful “drinking chocolate.”

Riverside Chocolate Factory

2102 W. IL 120 McHenry, IL

Riverside Chocolate Factory
Shaped like the top of a medieval castle, this shop is located across from what used to be a drive-in movie theater. This environment feeds into the familiar throwback vibe of the candy shop that many recognize it for. Customers from far and wide visit the factory—they’ll even get special creations, such as the chocolate covered bacon, shipped to them.

Anderson’s Candy Shop

10301 N. Main St. Richmond, IL

Anderson’s Candy Shop
For over 100 years, the Anderson family has made the best candies and chocolates around. Four generations have taken up the family trade in order to keep the tradition alive. They have a wide range of chocolate treats; however, if they don’t make what you want, they will! All you have to do is ask.

The Confectionary

149 N. 2nd St. DeKalb, IL

The Confectionary
Started in 1982, this family-owned shop is known for its small-batch creations. Every piece of candy is handmade and hand-dipped to perfection. Their chocolate covered Oreos and pretzel rods are especially decadent. Plus, they’re planning on opening an online shop in the future, so everyone can indulge in their creations.

Belgian Chocolatier Piron

509-A Main St. Evanston, IL

Belgian Chocolatier Piron
In the 1980s, Bob Piron traveled to Antwerp, Belgium, to learn about chocolate at the hands of a master. When he returned to Illinois, he and his brother Fred decided to open a shop. Each impeccable treat is handmade and hand-wrapped in their signature gold ballotin boxes and finished with hand-tied ribbons.

Long Grove Confectionary

220 Robert Parker Coffin Rd. Long Grove, IL

Long Grove Confectionary
The Long Grove Confectionary’s chocolate creations began taking shape in 1975 in a small red schoolhouse. This location was special because it allowed customers to see the process that goes into making their treats. Although the shop expanded over the years, people can still purchase their famous candy, such as Pecan Myrtle, at the tiny red schoolhouse.

5 of the Biggest Celebrity Chefs in the World

We love to watch them dash back and forth in the kitchen and create amazing food fusion. But celebrity chefs do more than serve up our favorite dishes—they entertain us with their antics, wit, and larger than life personalities.

Gordon Ramsey

The hot-tempered, foulmouthed Scot has made a name for himself with his Michelin starred restaurants and fiery behavior on his hit TV shows. Ramsey began making a name for himself when working for his mentor and fellow hot-head, Joel Robuchon. Since, he has forged his own cooking empire and now teaches people how to cook, saves failing restaurants, and runs his own businesses.

Rachel Ray

Ray started off teaching people to cook 30-minute meals at a specialty foods store in New York. That led to a weekly spot on a local news broadcast, which led to her first cookbook, 30-Minute Meals by Rachael Ray, and then her first Food Network contract in 2001. She is now a dominant figure in the food industry and has her own magazine, day time talk show, and several programs on Food Network.

Wolfgang Puck

Young Wolfgang learned to cook from his mother who was a pastry chef in Austria. When he turned 24, Puck moved to the United States and opened his first restaurant, Spago, in Los Angeles. He pioneered the concept of using quality ingredients that complement each other in odd ways. Coined the first celebrity chef, he now has a multi-million-dollar catering company, Wolfgang Puck Express restaurants, and dozens of restaurants around the world.

Emeril Lagasse

Working in a Portuguese bakery, Emeril discovered his talent at an early age. Over time, he began to master his skills and became passionate about Creole and Cajun cooking. This led him to open his first restaurant, Emeril, in New Orleans. Along with this, he was also the original host of How to Boil Water on Food Network, making him a household. With catchphrases like, “kick it up a notch,” “BAM!,” and “Feel the love,” his huge personality has made him a food superstar.

Giada De Laurentiis

Born in Rome and educated in the United States, Giada decided she didn’t want to join the family business of acting. She instead attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris with dreams of becoming a pastry chef. When she came back to the U.S., she worked at Spago under Wolfgang Puck. This mentorship would open the doors to many future opportunities. In 2002, Food Network contacted Giada about developing her own show—Everyday Italian premiered in 2003. She has since turned this into more television shows, two restaurants, and a line of cooking utensils.

10 Summertime Chicagoland Food Festivals in 2019

Winter is done, spring has sprung, and it’s time to venture outdoors to hit some parties and eat good food. All summer long, Chicagoland food festivals will whet your appetite. Check out this list of 2019’s food festivals in the area.

Taste of Chicago
Grant Park, Jackson St. & Columbus Dr. Chicago
July 10-14, 2019
Still one of the biggest and best food festivals, the Taste of Chicago celebrates its 39th year. Dozens of restaurants, food trucks, and pop ups will serve tasty treats from all over the world at this free event.

Ribfest in Naperville
Knoch Park, 724 South West St. Naperville, IL
July 3-6, 2019
This west suburban party is known for awesome musical acts and piles of rich, savory ribs. Listen to Flo Rida, Billy Idol, Brantley Gilbert, and others while you munch on delicious ribs before the fireworks.

Taste of Polonia
5216 W. Lawrence Ave, Chicago (Copernicus Center)
Aug. 30-Sep. 2, 2019
The largest Polish festival in the U.S. will be back in Jefferson Park with a multitude of bands, stages, cooking demos, and family-friendly activities for everyone.

Tacos y Tamales Festival
18th St. & Peoria, Chicago (Pilsen)
July 19-21, 2019
Modeled after the traditional Tianguis, the Tacos y Tamales Festival brings the sound and aroma of a Mexican market to the Pilsen neighborhood. Stages will have traditional music during the day and high energy Latin rock at night.

Windy City Smoke Out
1901 W. Madison St. Chicago (United Center)
July 12-14, 2019
Put on your cowboy boots and hat before heading to this celebration of country music, smoked meat, and craft beer. The biggest names in country music and the best pit masters from all over the country will make you forget you’re in the city.

Chicago Hotdog Fest
Stockton and LaSalle Dr., Chicago (Lincoln Park)
Aug. 9-11, 2019
Nothing says Chicago quite like hot dogs. Enjoy regional styles from all over the country and learn the history of the classic food at this event sponsored by the Chicago History Museum.

Chicago’s Only Ice Cream Festival
Antique Taco 1000 W. 35th St. Chicago
July 21, 2019
Hot summer days call for tasty frozen treats. There’s no better way to celebrate National Ice Cream Day than with two scoops in a waffle cone at this Chicagoland food festival.

Ribfest Chicago
Lincoln Ave. from Irving Park Rd. to Burteau Ave. Chicago
June 14-16, 2019
Follow your nose to the wood burning smokers cooking up amazing ribs in every regional style. Celebrate ribs and rock & roll while you watch titans of competitive eating compete in Rib Mania VII.

Roscoe Village Burger Fest
2000 W. Belmont, Chicago (Roscoe Village)
July 13 and 14, 2019
Have a flippin’ good time at this family-friendly neighborhood party. Burgers and fries, the Kid Zone, and lots of music make this a must attend event this summer.

Great American Lobster Fest
Navy Pier, Chicago
Aug. 30-Sep. 1, 2019
The Midwest’s largest seafood fest has live lobster, live music, and lots of libations at Navy Pier. Don’t forget your lobster cracker and extra napkins because it could get messy.

5 Vegan-Friendly Dessert Shops in Chicago

Below, we share five vegan-friendly dessert shops in Chicago. Because no matter your dietary needs, you deserve to have sweets!


Located just minutes from the Red Line in Andersonville, this gluten-free bakery has an amazing mission: to make dessert accessible to everyone. Vegans and those who live with food allergies or Celiac disease can enjoy sweets from Defloured knowing they’re free of any unwelcome ingredients. The shop uses soy-free butter and flax eggs to create their delectable desserts. Customers can choose from a wide selection of delicious vegan goodies, including cake pops, cookies, dessert bars, pies, and whoopie pies.

Loving Heart

Loving Heart is a small café with an impressive plant-based menu. In addition to handmade salads, soups, wraps, and other savory menu items, they also serve decadent, 100% vegan cakes. These desserts are made with mostly USDA-certified organic ingredients, so they’re not just good—they’re good for you, too. Currently, the café offers Apple Ginger Cake, Double Chocolate Cake, and Gluten-Free Carrot Cake. The shop also brews coffee and tea, the perfect accompaniments to your sweet snack.

Swirlz Cupcakes

Located in charming Lincoln Park, Swirlz has created unique vegan desserts for over a decade. Their cupcakes are made from rice flours and dedicated vegan equipment, so you can trust that they’re completely free of dairy, egg, gluten, and wheat. Additionally, Swirlz makes their batters, buttercreams, and fillings fresh daily. The shop offers 18 irresistible vegan flavors, including Banana Nutella, Double Chocolate, and S’mores. Flavors vary depending on the day of the week, so stopping in for a treat is always very tempting!

West Town Bakery

West Town Bakery is a sustainable bakery you must visit. The shop has three Chicago locations: River North, Wrigleyville, and, of course, West Town. They serve vegan cakes, cookies, donuts, muffins, and much more. West Town Bakery strives to use local and all-natural ingredients whenever possible. They also follow Earth-friendly practices, from using eco-friendly packaging and green lighting to recycling at the end of the day.

Upton’s Breakroom

Upton’s Naturals is widely known for their high-quality vegan grocery products. So if you love their food, don’t hesitate to visit their breakroom on Grand Avenue. Vegans and non-vegans alike enjoy the shop’s offerings; customers love Upton’s Breakroom for their cookies, malts, and shakes. Plus, they also offer delicious Temptation Soft Serve Ice Cream—when you arrive, be sure to ask about their available flavors and toppings.

7 of the Best Seafood Boil Restaurants in the U.S.

The magnificence of a seafood boil should never go unnoticed. Chow down on the wonders of the sea and enjoy an explosion of flavor—whether that be Cajun, Thai Chili, or Lemon Pepper. Delve into delectable dishes full of potatoes, your choice of seafood, sausages, and more. You won’t want to miss out on visiting these incredible American seafood boil restaurants.

Best Seafood Boil Restaurants in the U.S.

1. Skull Creek Boathouse

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
skull creek boathouse

This landmark waterfront restaurant has all the seafood boil necessities. Choose from a boil with snow crab legs, shrimp, mussels, clams, and oysters, or keep it simple with their Lowcountry Boil which relies heavily on excellent shrimp flavors. They offer a wide variety of seafood plate options as well if you want to switch it up.

2. The Boil

New York, New York
the boil

At the Boil, guests can experience authentic Cajun flavor in New York. Playing with various old-fashioned Creole cooking styles, they craft everything on the menu to bring unbelievable flavor to your taste buds. Get ready to get messy with their combos featuring crawfish, lobster, and crab.

3. The Angry Crab

Chicago, IL
the angry crab
The popularity of The Angry Crab is well-deserved—they give you the freshest possible seafood options and lather them up with your choice of seasoning and spice. Make this seafood boil your own by adding any of their 11 different seafood options. You’re sure to leave with dirty hands and a happy stomach.

4. The Juicy Seafood

Savannah, GA
the juicy seafood

You’ll have no problem finding excellent seafood in the south, but Juicy Seafood has some of the best. They’re the ultimate choice for all seafood cravings—start with some perfectly fried calamari and then dive right into their boil. Choose your favorite fish from their various options and get to cracking!

5. The Boiling Crab 

Cities in California, Hawaii, Florida, Nevada, Texas
the boiling crab

People all over the United States cannot get enough of this restaurant. If you’re heading to the West Coast and need a Cajun fix, then the Boiling Crab is the perfect option. Choose from their four sauces—we recommend The Whole Sha-Bang! ®—then level up your spice flavor profile. Before you know it, you’ll be elbow deep in delicious seafood.

6. The Cajun Crawfish 

Seattle, WA
the cajun crawfish

This family-owned restaurant specializes in Vietnamese-Southern seafood cuisine. Thanks to Cajun Crawfish, even way up north you can experience a delectable home cooked southern experience. They have a wide range of seafood to choose from, from sea snails to blue prawns.

7. Cajun Claws Seafood Boilers

Rayne, LA
cajun claws seafood boilers

Specializing in crawfish, Cajun Claws boasts delectable seafood. Louisiana is home to numerous seafood restaurants that have their own spin on Cajun food—this is just one of the many tasty options. Their boiled combos come in massive portion sizes, so there’s no chance you’ll leave hungry.

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