The images of cakes and tarts are beyond tempting. Lemon meringues share space with milk chocolate hazelnuts. They are part of a seasonal philosophy at Floriole Bakery in Lincoln Park because the owner started her business with a simple booth at a farmer's market.
"We really started at the Green City Market, so our philosophy is to use, whenever possible, local, seasonal, fresh ingredients and show those off in our pastries," said Sandra Holl, the owner of Floriole Café and Bakery.
Like her fruit crisps, which change with the seasons, or there, next to a chocolate pudding, lies a buttermilk-lime panna cotta with blueberry compote. You could tuck into a rhubarb and almond cream galette just as easily as you could the irresistible sticky bun. Holl's French influence can be seen in the small cannele - a pastry with a custard inside, and a thick, carmelized outer shell. Now that she has her own kitchen, and a two-story space in which to serve, the menu options have expanded significantly, with an entire savory side of the menu as well.
"It's a cafe so we want to have sandwiches and we started working on bread here as well, so we want to use that bread in our sandwiches," Holl said.
Again, seasonally-dependant but appropos, there's an asparagus and goat cheese sandwich, plus ham and cheese croissant and even quiche. Holl's oven also gets a workout baking up pizzettas; the week we were there, they were covered in ramps, or tiny Spring onions. Over the previous summers, kitchen space was limited, so the fact she now has space to stretch out, it's also letting her stretch out her creativity.
"We get to work with things like chocolate and lemon and it's at our whim. Whatever we want to use, we can use," said Holl.
Holl says despite having the store full-time, she's still going to be at the market twice a week. You can be sure her items will change just about weekly throughout the summer.