*Article originally written for Little Lake County by Loralie Thomas.
October is the month of indulgence! With Sweetest Day around the corner (October 17, 2015) and Halloween looming before us, shopping local is the best way to spread the love. If you need sweets for your sweet or want a deluxe trick-or-treat, check out these independently-owned businesses for high-quality chocolates and confections.
Lake County Sweet Shops
This organic, all-natural bakery is a Little Lake County favorite! Aside from elegant baked goods, owner Candice keeps the confection case well-stocked with handmade cake pops, truffles, and candy bar bites like her signature 122 Bars, Cacao Stix and Cloud 9 bars (refined takes on familiar candy bars.) You’ll find Cacao Sweets & Treats featured in Family-Friendly Farm-to-Table and Ethical Eats.
For handmade specialties like toffee, turtles, and chocolate-covered-anything head to Uniquely Sweet. You can also find their confections at Something’s Brewing, with two locations in Grayslake. Loralie tells you all about their Chocolatier Parties in Uniquely Sweet Birthday Parties.
The Chocolate Sanctuary in Gurnee pays proper homage to the sacred cacao bean and the many delicacies it has given to humanity. While dinner and cocktails are the best way to experience this new restaurant, you can take home their artisan chocolates to share with your loved ones (or hoard for yourself, I don’t judge.) Jennifer J. tells you how she found her new sweet spot in her review of The Chocolate Sanctuary.
Confection Connection, 504 Central Avenue, Highland Park
Long before I moved to Illinois, when anyone mentioned Long Grove, my first thought was the famed Long Grove Confectionery Co. Indeed, no visit to Long Grove is complete without walking the brick-lined paths for a peek into their flagship store. For a behind-the-scenes experience, visit their facility in Buffalo Grove for a factory tour.
Nut and Candy House, 581 West Bonner Road, Wauconda
McHenry County Sweet Shops
If you’ve traveled down Route 120 into McHenry, chances are you’ve passed the steep-pitched roof of the Riverside Chocolate Factory – it looks like an inverted ice cream cone! For years we would zip by and think, “I wonder what it’s like?” When we finally pulled over for a taste, my husband and I kicked ourselves for not stopping sooner. The kids love to visit in the summer for ice cream whenever we are in the area.
When you first walk into Ethereal Confections in historic Downtown Woodstock, the fragrance of chocolate wraps you up into a warm blanket of happiness. No less so when you finally sink your teeth into one of their creations which are handmade with high-quality, organic ingredients. Confections are also gluten-free and dairy-free, but I promise you won’t miss either ingredient.
Featured in Family-Friendly Farm-to-Table and Ethical Eats.
Did we miss your favorite candy shop? Tell us about it in the comments!