Nothing says Merry Christmas like a fruitcake. But who likes fruitcake really? Especially since McHenry County offers lots of yummy treats from hand-dipped chocolate truffles to European sweets.
Webster’s Unabridged Inc., a media relation agency that specializes in travel and tourism, put together this guide featuring McHenry County businesses with creative, culinary gift ideas:
La Petit Marche
Fans of this bakery, bistro and wine shop say it's "a touch of Europe in downtown Crystal Lake". Stop in for breakfast or lunch, and then buy some of the amazing breads, pastries and desserts to take home. Just two blocks from the Metra train station.
This family company (pronounced Mor-Kiss) began in 1920 at 26th &Trumbull in Chicago, moved to Palatine in 1967 and opened a branch in Algonquin in 2007. Today, they produce old favorites, plus exciting new items, such as "chocolate shoes" (size 6, in a shoe box), They also offer chocolate parties and classes.
Anderson's Candy Shop
Founded in 1919 in Chicago, Anderson's moved to Richmond in 1926, to be on the route to Lake Geneva. Today, great-grandsons Leif and Lars carry on the family tradition of hand-dipped chocolates, truffles, toffees and caramels.
Sisters-in-law Mary and Sara share a passion for chocolate. They attended Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy in Chicago and launched their own store in 2011. They create fine chocolates that transcend and blend flavors from around the world.
My Honey Company
This family business has been selling 100% pure honey since 1991, plus beeswax candles and diverse honey products. Choose from Clover, Cranberry Blossom or rich, dark Wildflower Honey. Bring your own containers or buy pre-packaged jars of honey.
Located at a busy intersection in a whimsical building with a pointed roof, Riverside opened in 1983. They craft a variety of fudges, chocolates, toffees, dipped fruits and chocolate-covered bacon. Yes, BACON!
Swiss Maid Bakery
Woodstock and Harvard
815-338-0414 or 815-943-7282
The tradition began five generations ago in the 1920's on North Avenue in Chicago, and moved to McHenry County in 1934. Today, the bakeries still specialize in European-style pastries, hearty breads, bagels, cookies, pies, cakes and wedding cakes.
Woodstock Willie's Wake-Up Sauce
This is where the cult movie "Groundhog Day" was filmed in 1992. In February, the town celebrates with walking tours of movie sites, re-enactments of movie scenes, appearances by Woodstock Willie, symposiums with filmmakers and souvenirs such as this hot sauce, available in shops around the iconic town square and online.