European-style sweets for chocolate lovers

September 28, 2013 (CHICAGO)

If you show up too hungry, you're likely to eat your weight in sweets. Locals have always relied upon Le Chocolat du Bouchard for imported chocolates and homemade pastries, but since they expanded a few months ago, the tasty options have increased as well.

"It's more or less the patisserie area, the baked goods and the whole chocolate section we moved over here, so we've got our European chocolate cases that we built," said owner Cathy Bouchard.

And good luck settling on just one. Hazelnut, walnut, pistachio and macadamia nuts are just a few of the dozens of truffle options. Some, shaped like cacao pods; others more simple. Next to that, a case full of baked goods, including a decadent carrot cake and an assortment of cheesecakes and more elegant plated desserts. All of them are made upstairs.

"We've got two kitchens upstairs above each building and so we do all of the baking. So all of our baked goods, patisserie, our French pastry chefs are making all of the goods on premise," Bouchard said.

In the original space, a coffee bar with an 8-page dessert menu. Expect fanciful coffee drinks, plus nearly three dozen specialty hot chocolates.

Bouchard says she's more interested in finding great chocolate, than she is in producing it.

"Mostly what I do is I travel the world to find the best of the best," she said. "I try to taste test my way through the world to find good chocolate. So I'm not a chocolatier, I'm a chocolate connoisseur."

You can also do something called "book the bar" which is take over this whole space for 6 to 12 people - great for birthdays or bridal showers - and the nice thing is every guest gets their own dessert flight which ensures a very sweet event.

Aficionados will also appreciate the fact they've sourced some of the best chocolate bars in the world, from places like Italy and Hungary.

Le Chocolat du Bouchard
127-129 S. Washington St., Naperville
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