Got a sweet tooth? This month’s for you! There seem to be aisles of chocolates in all the supermarkets and department stores as we approach Valentine’s Day. But once the holiday passes and you’re still itching for some creamy bites of goodness, there are plenty of candy shops to visit for that sugar rush.
Many of them are historic gems where chocolates have been produced by hand for decades, and some are being run by second and third generations. Some are stand-alone chocolate shops, while others serve up ice cream treats as well or have a full cafe menu with sandwiches and salads.
Some of my favorites are:
Gayety’s Chocolates in Lansing. Although this place originated in Chicago over a century ago, it relocated to Lansing on Torrence Avenue and then to its current location on Ridge Road. It’s been my go-to place for a treat — usually a mini muddle sundae, which includes their vanilla ice cream topped with homemade whipped cream and hot fudge and sprinkled with pecans. They have wonderful seasonal and specialty flavors, too. I love the peppermint and banana flavors. But for chocolates, you’ll find a number of hand-dipped candies, like the muddles (which are similar to Turtles), chocolate covered nuts, toffee and other goodies. I’d always get giddy when I’d get one of those gold gift boxes from Gayety’s that I knew was filled with chocolate stuff I loved.
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Cunis Candies in South Holland. This is another local one that is not far from where I grew up. It dates back to 1933 and they have a variety of chocolates, freshly-roasted nuts, homemade ice cream and chocolate covered strawberries.
McCord’s Candies in Lafayette is an adorable old-school soda fountain shop where you can choose from so many chocolate treats, shakes and other goodies. They’re also known for their homemade candy canes made from the original recipe (the store opened in 1912) and hand-pulled as they have been since the beginning.
Carlisle Coffee & Sweets in New Carlisle, Indiana. When we went for lunch at Moser’s Austrian Cafe, we discovered this place attached to the restaurant. You’ll find delectable desserts, like the strudel and cheesecake you can get in the restaurant along with fudge, stroopwafels, truffles, tortes, tarts, brownies, canoli and more on the menu.
Long Grove Confectionery in Long Grove, Illinois. I have fond memories of my visits there with my mom, older sister and sisters-in-law when I was a child. We made a few trips to this lovely little historic downtown to shop and dine and no trip was complete without chocolate covered strawberries from Long Grove Confectionery.
Abbott’s Candies in Hagerstown, Indiana is a place I discovered on a road trip with my family. It’s totally worth heading a little off the beaten path to visit this shop that has been around since 1890 and still uses old-fashioned candy making techniques and equipment to create the confections by hand. The truffles and caramels and amazing.
Riverside Chocolate Factory in McHenry, Illinois. My sister-in-law once lived nearby and on each trip to her house we would make a stop here for all kinds of chocolate treats — among them the chocolate covered bananas, which were out of this world.
Anderson’s Candy Shop in Richmond, Illinois is a chocolate lover’s paradise where you’ll find adorable chocolate molded chocolates, truffles, fudge, chocolate covered nuts and cremes and my favorite – the Filbert, which is a chocolate bar with hazelnuts. The shop is a charming little spot that is still in the same family with a fourth generation behind the helm.
And a few others I’d recommend:
- DeBrand Fine Chocolates in Fort Wayne
- Ethereal Confections in Woodstock, Illinois
- Katherine Anne Confections in Chicago
- Flesor’s Candy Kitchen in Tuscola, Illinois
- Kilwin’s is a chain with many locations. I’ve been to stores in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois.
- Fannie May is another chain worth visiting with most locations in Illinois and Northwest Indiana.
- South Bend Chocolates has several locations in Indiana as well as a couple in Ohio and Michigan.