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Love Letter to Chicago

Anyone know where you can get:

Locally MADE cheese and wine?
Locally roasted beans, besides WF and Intelligencia?
Locally made tortillas
The best in locally made french pastry
Locally made chocolate, besides Vosges

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  1. There are quite a few wineries in the greater Chicago area and the rest of northern Illinois. You can find a complete list at http://www.illinoiswine.org/region_no...

    There are a lot of shops making their own chocolates, too. One of the very best in the country is Belgian Chocolatier Piron in Evanston. They have their ingredients flown in from Belgium. Most days you can find Bob Piron in the back of the shop; you'll notice that his apron is clean first thing in the morning, and covered with chocolate by the end of the day. HIGHLY recommended.

    509-A Main Street
    Evanston, Illinois 60202
    Phone: 847-864-5504
    Fax: 847-864-5573

    1 Reply
    1. For locally roasted beans - Casteel Coffee in Evanston - IMO the best coffee in Chicago - http://casteelcoffee.com/

      1. Metropolis cafe in Rogers park is a roaster that is very good. Their red line roast for espresso is my favorite.

        1. Chocolate: Canady in the South Loop (also home-made gelati):

          Tortillas: See them being made at Maxwell Street Market, at one or two of the food booths (altho I don't think they're for sale separately, but are stuffed and eaten there on site).

          French Pastry: Bonjour Cafe (1550 E 55th St, Chicago, IL 60615,
          (773) 241-5300)

          1. El Milagro Tortilleria make the best locally made corn tortillas, flour tortillas, chips, etc. They have a plant as well as a taqueria in the Pilsen neighborhood. You can find them in just about every grocery store...they're occasionally still warm!

            4 Replies
            1. re: amoncada

              armoncada you are right on the money. I buy them, usually warm, at Caputos in Des Plaines. I can't walk buy them when they are warm and pick some up for friends. They are the best I've had. I go home and quickly make a cheese crisp or two with a touch of sour cream and some hot sauce. Best fast food there is.

              1. re: amoncada

                El Milagro also has a stall in the North Riverside mall food court. They don't sell the tortillas retail there but do sell them as part of some really good Mexican food court food.

                1. re: amoncada

                  A second on the El Milagro tortillas!

                  1. re: amoncada

                    Love those warm tortillas! Every day at the local A&G!

                  2. I don't know of any "local" cheese. But there's a place called Mars Cheese Castle right off of I94 that is fantastic. It's in Wisconsin though, but not too far from the border. Worth the trip every single time.


                    3 Replies
                    1. re: bakeryqueen

                      If you stop at the Wisconsin Welcome center on I-94, there a brochure that lists nearly every cheese producer in the state by county. And it seems that you can find most of them at Woodman's.

                      1. re: bakeryqueen

                        If you are looking for kitch, Mars is the place; it's fun! Woodman's is more no nonsense, but has vast selection.

                        1. re: bakeryqueen

                          When at Mars...buy the Cheddar Cheese loaf in the bakery. White bread with cheddar in the center. Makes fabulous toast.

                        2. For coffee I would recommend either Metropolis (Roast Magazine's Micro roaster of the year) or Freedom Coffee Roasters.

                          For cheese I would call and ask the folks at The Cheese Stands alone. If anyone knows they would.

                          For tortillas just drive up 18th street between Damen and Halsted in Pilsen where they are made fresh at the tortillarias. Here you can buy them still warm 12 for $0.25. Unbeatable!

                          For French pasteries try Sweet Thang on North Ave.

                          1. There's a great winery in Roselle called Lynfred Winery. They even have a wine-of-the-month club.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: chocolate4U

                              > There's a great winery in Roselle called Lynfred Winery.

                              Yes, they are in the list of Northern Illinois wineries in the link in my post above. (They actually comprise three of the twenty listings there, one for the winery in Roselle and two more for their tasting rooms in Naperville and Wheaton.)

                            2. Well I second the nomination of Casteel's Coffee in Evanston. I have been buying from them for many years and love the fact that they use Fair Trade beans in most instances. Another fine roaster in Bannockburn is Newport Coffee. Not exactly in Chicago but a nice roaster also. Don