First off, here is an interview with Ellen of Necessity Baking Co.:
Their bread tastes amazing, as it is soft and flavorful inside, with a chewy crust outside. And Ellen informed me that they have a bread baked with chorizo and cheese- can't wait to try that! If you want any of their line of breads, you can contact them in advance, and they will be sure to stock and save them for you.
I then visited Provo's Village Bake Shoppe, located out of Riverside and owned by Wesley Kuras. He focuses on giving his customers fresh, sweet, handmade European baked goods like pies, kolacky, and breads. I particularly like the danishes, as they are soft, sweet, and made with fresh local fruits.
For more sweet pastries, I stopped at Vanille Patisserie. The sweet team of Dimitri (the 2008 World Pastry Champion) and Keli Fayard bring the goods from North Clybourn sure to please. Mousse cakes, tarts, and chocolates are their specialty.
Next came the mother-daughter team of Stasia Hawyrszczuk and Dobra Bielinski of Delightful Pastries. They have been baking up breads, pastries, and cookies since 1988 at 5927 N. Lawrence. They bake local and fresh- no preservatives or chemicals and even make low-fat and low-sugar sweet rolls if you're looking to keep the weight down!
Just across the way I spotted Sweet Miss Giving's (SMG), which not only gives us some great sweets to purchase, but also donates 50% of all profit to Chicago's homeless and HIV/AIDS afflicted. SMG also offers up Uncommon Grounds coffee out of Saugatuck, Michigan. You can find their goods at many locations in Chicago, including the French Market. Here's a small interview with the shop manager:
If you're looking to get more of a coffee and sweet fix on, try Espression by Lavazza. All of your favorite Italian style coffee and espresso creations accompanied by pastries, chocolates, and gelatos, brought to you by a 114 year-old family business.
Last on my sweets tour was Canady le Chocolatier, a favorite of mine from the South Loop. Michael Canady has been pleasing the sweet tooth of South Loopers (and me!) for years now with his handmade chocolates, gelatos, and crepes. His array of chocolates are on full display at the French Market, and make sure to visit his shop for the rest!
There are two other breadmakers: Chundy's Bistro and Pastoral Artisan, but I will save them for my next feature. In the meantime, grab some bread and pastries, and don't forget the cannoli!