Grand Cochon Comes to Chicago!

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This Sunday, October 1, 14 Chefs from around the country will be in Chicago for Grand Cochon to showcase their culinary skill and compete to become the "King or Queen of Porc"! Each Chef will create no less than three bite sized portions from their own heritage pig. They will be using the whole animal- so be ready to enjoy some amazing and off the wall food.

In addition to the 42+ bites in this communal feast, guests can sample Rosenberg's Deli's Chef Joshua Pollack's beef tartare with Sabatino's truffles, Pastoral Artisan cheeses and bread, La Brea's pop up bakery, organic pâté Les Trois Petits Cochons, a luxury butter and foie gras bar and much more!

There will also be much to drink with wine, spirits, and cocktails from the Glenfiddich Experimental Dome, Breckenridge smoked Old Fashions, The Manhattan Project by Poached Jobs, collaborative Angostura and Perfect Puree's Tiki Bar, Courvoisier cocktails, and wines from Scholium Project, Kosta Browne, Pax, Silver Oak and more. 

The event takes place at Morgan Manufacturing on October 1. Tickets are available here. General Admission ($150) lets in at 5:55pm or you can splurge with the VIP pass ($225) which lets you in at 5pm. Hope to see you all at the pig out!

Chicago French Market Part 3: Bake it Up!

As my tour at the grand opening of the Chicago French Market continued, I couldn't help but notice how many baked goods were available.  Breads, cakes, cookies, pies, pastries, tarts, and candies were all ready to be eaten by hungry shoppers.  The best news is there will always be more, as local bakeries, patisseries, and chocolatiers will be there with fresh goods daily.  Some of them were even able to take some time out and give some video info about themselves and their goods:

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!