Food lovers will enjoy these delicious treats, all made locally by passionate culinary artisans.
CH Distillery and West Loop Salumi join forces to offer a holiday booze box ($85 and up) with your choice of a locally distilled CH Spirit, customized stainless steel CH flask and West Loop Salumi’s finnochionna salami. Beverage director Krissy Schutte recommends CH’s peppercorn vodka as her preferred pairing. “The Tellicherry peppercorns that we use pair beautifully with the Berkshire pork and fennel pollen,” she says. After the one-hundred-percent Heritage Berkshire pork salami is cured and seasoned with fresh fennel pollen, it’s slowly fermented and dried for at least a month. CH is also offering 210 limited-edition bottles of CH Center 100 Vodka ($150), a premium version of their signature spirit. Each bottle is decorated by one of ten local Chicago artists and a portion of the proceeds goes toward Un86’d, a local charity for restaurant professionals in need. chdistillery.com, 564 West Randolph, (312)707-8780.
You can count on Lush Wine & Spirits for a thoughtfully curated selection of wine that’s both tasty and intriguing. An affordable favorite small label is owner Mitch Einhorn’s own Chateau Nomad, made with California grapes and naturally, exclusive to Lush. The 2012 rosé ($18), heavy on Mourvedre with hints of pomegranate and strawberry and the 2011 Chardonnay ($25), with notes of apple and pear and a delicate oak finish are a couple of our favorites. lushwineandspirits.com, 1412 West Chicago, (312)666-6900. 2232 West Roscoe, (773)281-8888.
One of Chicago’s best new restaurants of 2014, Tête Charcuterie, just launched an online retail operation so you can enjoy your favorite artisanal sausages including chicken weisswurst, boudin, merguez and their famous longanisa ($14.95-$16.50) at home. Taste them all at the restaurant first, served with German, Filipino, Moroccan and French flavors, to get ideas for how to prepare the sausages at home. Mix and match meats by the pound to find the perfect variety for your favorite carnivore. tete-charcuterie.com/myshopify.com, 1114 W. Randolph, (312)733-1178.
The Meatloaf Bakery is now shipping your favorite savory meatloaf cupcakes nationwide in boxes of eight. The Mother Loaf ($49.95) is a Food Network favorite, featuring a blend of beef, pork and veal topped with buttery Yukon mashed potatoes. No Buns About It ($51.95) is another great pick, blending beef, bacon, cheddar, onions, mustard, ketchup and pickles into one patty. The cheese taters on top may even persuade you to skip the fries. And if you’re feeling a little lazy about brining and roasting that turkey, just grab a box of the Herby Turkey Loaf ($48.95) for turkey, garlic and red pepper cupcakes topped with aged Parmesan, bread stuffing and cranberries. Now, that’s an easy and creative Christmas main course. themeatloafbakery.com/shop, 2464 North Clark, (773)698-6667.
Chef Chris Nugent and his wife, Nina, have opened Goosefoot Food & Wine, which not only stocks a lovely selection of wine perfect to pair with Nugent’s food at his BYOB restaurant next door, but also offers housemade chocolates and soups and a diverse selection of cheese. The soups, sold in liquid form, are one of the courses on the tasting menu at Goosefoot and change frequently. Recently, the mushroom truffle soup was rich, creamy heaven. We may have found the cure to the common cold. 2654 West Lawrence, (773)942-7522.
Undoubtedly one of Chicago’s most beloved chocolatiers, Katherine Anne Duncan has come a long way from farmer’s market darling to owning her own Logan Square hot chocolate café and having her Katherine Anne Confections truffles, caramels and marshmallows sold in retail locations from Plum Market to Walgreens. You can’t go wrong with tried-and-true rosemary sea salt caramels or vanilla black pepper marshmallows to elevate your hot chocolate at home, but their cranberry blood orange, brown-buttered rum and chai tea truffles will only be around in December. The cranberry blood orange is Duncan’s personal favorite for the bright flavor and dark chocolate. “It’s intensely tart,” she says. “We use Wisconsin cranberries simmered in Illinois honey, then bittersweet chocolate and blood oranges. Super delish.” katherine-anne.com/truffles, 2745 West Armitage, (773)245-1630.
Inspired by the success of her pop-up Mother’s Day chocolate boutique, NoMI Pastry Chef Meg Galus is at it again for the holidays, curating a sugar & spice boutique in the lobby of the Park Hyatt. Stop by through Christmas Eve for signature candy bars, peppermint bark ($6), savory spice blends, homemade hot chocolate mix ($35) and macarons. The macaron tree ($25) makes for great edible décor and if you’re having a hard time choosing, just get a confection gift set ($30) with caramels, nougats and chocolate. 800 North Michigan, (312)335-1234.