Hound highlights chocolate for Valentine's

February 13, 2008 1:14:59 PM PST
For many people, chocolate signals love. And, in honor of Valentine's Day, this week, our Hungry Hound is highlighting two local chocolatiers.

First up, a South Loop gem, where truffles and gelato share space with dipped fruit and other unique treats.

Students at Columbia College have no doubt already discovered Canady le Chocolatier. Named for owner Michael Canady, the sliver-thin shop reflects his worldly travels, and they've recently expanded their production line, to include gelato and some individual pastries. But this week, of course, it's all about the chocolate.

Handmade and homemade. That's the mantra at the tiny, unassuming Canady Le Chocolatier in the South Loop.

"We're a little original here because we do everything from scratch. If you look at anything we have in the case, it's all made here, all in our back room, with three of us, and it's, you know, it's pretty fun," said Patrick Fahy, Canady Le Chocolatier.

Fun is the operative word when describing their shapes and flavors: from the pyramids to King Tut, they love to work with color and exotic flavors.

"Most of the other markets in Chicago do not make their chocolate on sight; they produce them outside and most of them are usually just retail shops where they sell their chocolates," said Fahy.

Through a glass window display case, it's easy to see what the staff is working on.

"We use a Swiss chocolate, and it's roughly between 16 and 17 percent, but some people like it sweeter, some people like it bitter, so we try and have a variety of each," Fahy said.

Whether they're dipping strawberries in dark or milk chocolate, or just hand-painting molds for chocolate boxes, the small staff makes everything themselves.

"The flavor's good, it's all fresh - it's a lot of fresh cream and butter ganaches; the flavors are, I would say original too; other chocolatiers do many of the same flavors in different varieties as well," said Fahy.

There are classic combos, such as chocolate and raspberry, but there's also an emphasis on Italian flavors.

"For example our balsamic vinaigrette; we had a vin santo or pomegranate for example, or pumpkin; our gelatos are really original too. Our flavors are very fresh, I'd say that's the best part about it," said Fahy.

Gift boxes are big business this week, but Canady also makes a perfect little stop after lunch or dinner, for a sweet treat.

Canady Le Chocolatier
824 S. Wabash