For me, Valentine’s Day without chocolate is inconceivable. So, yesterday, instead of shopping at one of my usual chocolate shops, I decided to visit the special, two-day Valentine’s pastry market at the Logan Square Kitchen, held both Saturday and Sunday, featuring local Chicago, small-batch artisans. Lacking the capital needed to build a commercial kitchen, many food entrepreneurs get their start by renting time at a shared-use kitchen, such as the three-year-old Logan Square Kitchen. These are small businesses that operate mostly through their online presence, at local markets, directly to hotels and restaurants, and through other retailers. Over time, they branch out on their own.
After parking my car and navigating around huge piles of old, melting snow, it was a nice welcome to walk into LSK where Valentine’s Day cheeriness reigned. No shortage of red or chocolate here. More than dozen vendors were selling their goods. Most of the selections were pastry and chocolate, but there was some savory, too. The long, narrow space was crowded, and between that and juggling a shopping bag, purse, and camera, I wasn’t able to snap a ton of photos, but I did catch a few highlights and brought home plenty of sweets.
At one end of the long, narrow space, I couldn’t pass up the ricotta beignets from Fritz Pastry served with Rare Bird passion fruit preserve. They were as good as they look in the photo at left. I strolled past the freshly brewing Ipsento Coffee and beautiful line of Rare Bird jams to search for my chocolate requirement. A taste of Nice Cream’s luxurious Spicy Chocolate ice cream lived up to its name, sending an intense salvo of cinnamon and cayenne.
But for something easier to take home, I opted for a selection of treats, shown in the picture at left. From the top, clockwise: Flour Cake and Pastry’s blueberry crumble, Tinycakes’s chocolate chip brownies, a dark chocolate caramel and hazelnut mini tart from Celestial Kitchens, Mayana Chocolate’s spin on the Twix bar, and in the center, Celestial’s heart pastry filled with raspberries.
The shopping was fun, especially with being able to meet the people behind their products. Lots of passion and love was definitely in the air.
Logan Square Kitchen
2333 North Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647