Chicago can lay claim to many things, including candy capital of the world and birthplace of the Italian beef sandwich. Many people pay homage to these distinctions with delectable and handmade gifts from local Chicago institutions, such as Margie’s Candies, Garrett Popcorn and Chicago Johnny’s giardiniera.
For those who can’t enjoy Chicago-style deep dish pizza locally, it’s a popular gift to send to those out of town, since places like Lou Malnati's and Giordano’s can ship their pizza anywhere throughout the country.
Coffee, Cherry & Walnut truffle from Katherine Anne Confections — Photo courtesy of Katherine Anne Confections
Sweets don’t need to be relegated to your sweet. Truffles from Katherine Anne Confections or Vosges Haut Chocolat are the kind that will land you in the recipient's good graces for months to come.
Caffeine addicts will find delight in Intelligenstia Coffee’s selection, while those who prefer to imbibe will appreciate KOVAL’s whiskey and liqueur from Chicago’s first distiller.
Have someone who loves to cook? Gifts from Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Wine & Bread in the Loop is pretty much a hit no matter what you select, although the Sweet Home Chicago package offers a nice selection of local fare.
Lillie Q’s Limited Edition BBQ sauces are on fire, while Chicago Johnny’s giardiniera is addictive.
Liqueurs from KOVAL, Chicago's first distillery since Prohibition — Photo courtesy of KOVAL Distillery
Some of the best shopping for Christmas, Hanukkah and any holiday, really, can be found in local neighborhood indie shops that carry items from local artists or their own line. It wouldn’t be uncommon to chat with Katherine Anne in her boutique at Katherine Anne Confections or Terry from Terry’s Toffee, for example.
And when they’re in, expect to sample plenty of options.
Another benefit of shopping local stores in Chicago is that it’s relatively easy to get around using public transportation or using DIVVY, the city’s bike share system.
Most shops are within other local independent stores or restaurants. This makes shopping that much more enjoyable, since you can grab a bite to eat and shop at several locations, too.