Made in Chicago: Ideas for local, last-minute gifts
Liquors made at North Shore Distillery in Lake Bluff. | Michael Jarecki~For Sun-Times Media
Willy Wonka Candy Factory, www.wonka.com
Ferrara Pan Candy Co., www.ferrarapan.com
Jelly Belly jelly beans, www.jellybelly.com
Affy Tapple factory store, 6300 Gross Point Road, Niles, (847) 588-2900, www.affytapple.com
Eli’s Cheesecake, 6701 W. Forest Preserve Drive, Chicago, (773) 205-3800, www.elicheesecake.com
Garrett Popcorn, www.GarrettPopcorn.com
Hearts & Flower Bakery at Misericordia, 6300 N. Ridge, Chicago, (773) 273-4182, www.misericordia.com/bakery.aspx
Lambs Farm, 14245 W. Rockland Road, Libertyville, (847) 362-4636, shop.lambsfarm.org
Goose Island Beer Co., www.gooseisland.com
Finch’s Beer Co., www.finchbeer.com
Koval’s Distillery, 5121 N. Ravenswood, Chicago, (312) 878-7988, www.koval-distillery.com
Few Spirits, 918 Chicago Ave., Evanston, (847) 920-8628, www.fewspirits.com
North Shore Distillery, 28913 Herky Drive, Unit 308, Lake Bluff, (847) 574-2499, www.northshoredistillery.com
Quincy Street Distillery, 39 E. Quincy St., Riverside, (708) 870-5987, www.quincy streetdistillery.com
Updated: December 20, 2012 2:38PM
Need some last-minute gifts? Think local this holiday season, and give a gift that says Chicago.
Chicago remains a candy-making center. Pack up a basket of kiddie favorites such as Wonka Bars and Everlasting Gobstoppers from Itasca’s Willy Wonka Candy Factory; Atomic Fire Balls, Lemonheads and Red Hots from Ferrara Pan Candy Co. in Forest Park; or gourmet treats such as Jelly Belly jelly beans, made in North Chicago.
◆ Affy Tapple was the very first caramel apple, and Chicagoans have loved them since Edna Kastrup created the confection in Chicago back in 1948. Choose from plain caramel-dipped or apples embellished with nuts or candies.
◆ You can’t exactly put a cheesecake under the Christmas tree, but Eli’s Cheesecake still makes a great gift. Most local supermarkets carry a limited selection, or head out to the factory store to see the whole line, from original plain to blood orange-champagne and Saigon cinnamon-chocolate.
◆ Whether the oddly addictive Chicago Mix or the special holiday Gingerbread CaramelCrisp, tins of Garrett Popcorn have been a Chicago holiday essential since the 1940s.
◆ Baked goods and sweets from the Hearts & Flower Bakery at Misericordia and the bakery at Lambs Farm support their work providing homes and occupations for people with developmental disabilities, who mix, bake and package the goodies. Find cookies, Irish soda breads, whiskey cake, peppermint bark, fudge and more at Misericordia.
◆ Lambs Farm’s butter cookies are a local favorite, but they also offer many other cookies, chocolates and preserves.
Local beers always make a fun gift, and Chicago has loads of them, from venerable Goose Island to newcomer Finch’s, but we have stronger choices, too.
Illinois law changed in 2010 to make it easier for small-volume “craft” distillers to open, and the Chicago area now boasts four of them, offering unique spirits that would add to anyone’s holiday cheer.
◆ Koval Distillery’s line starts with five single-grain, unaged white whiskeys — rye, oat, wheat, millet and spelt — and crafts them into European- and American-style single-barrel whiskeys and liqueur. Find Koval’s products at the distillery, as well as local liquor stores.
◆ Temperance ended once and for all in formerly dry Evanston with the opening of Few Spirits. They make gin, flavored with 11 botanicals, ranging from lemon peel and vanilla to juniper; white whiskey distilled from corn and wheat; rye whiskey, aged in air-dried oak barrels, and a three-grain bourbon. There’s a tasting room at the distillery and many area liquor stores carry Few.
◆ The pioneer of local boutique distilleries, launched in 2004, North Shore Distillery, makes a number of unique gins; vodka; Sol, a vodka flavored with citrus, chamomile and spices; absinthe; aquavit, one of a very few made in the United States; and special single-batch spirits, released annually. This year’s is Silver Lining, a German-style herbal liqueur, produced in a limited run of just 860 hand-numbered bottles. North Shore spirits are sold at the distillery and widely around Chicago.
◆ Quincy Street Distillery is the newest area distillery, opened in July, with two products: an unaged corn whiskey, Water Tower White Lightning Whiskey, and Old No. 176 American Gin. They’re available at the distillery, open Fridays and Saturdays only, and a few retailers.