Specializing in custom cakes artfully decorated by talented cake designers, Il Giardino Del Dolce also satiates sweet teeth of all ages with a mouthwatering selection of authentic Italian pastries, cookies, and more. Fill your jowl jar with butter cookies ($6.99–$10.99/lb.) topped with sprinkles, chocolate, or green cherries, or opt for authentic Italian eats with biscotti ($12.99/lb.), pignoli, or buccellate ($14.99/lb.).
On the bank of the Fox River sits Dolce Bakery & Cafe, a family-owned sanctuary of sweetness specializing in Italian pastries and desserts. Here, the tiramisu cake is soaked in coffee, filled with a creamy mousse, and surrounded by succulent ladyfingers. The profiterole, a classic Italian delicacy, is a tower of hazelnut cream puffs, topped with chocolate shavings and garnished with whipped cream and cherry buttons. Dolce also whips up soft, moist cupcakes slathered in a made-from-scratch buttercream frosting, and a host of cookies including macaroons, amaretti, and lemon taralli. On the savory side of things, Dolce's chefs prepare light Italian cafe fare such as paninis, flatbread pizza, and pasta.
Yogen Fr?z has an interesting answer for yogurt shops that simply top their swirls with fruit?they mix whole mangos, bananas, watermelon, and kiwis right in with the yogurt. These colorful, fresh creations boast low or no fat as well as a heaping helping of digestion-friendly probiotics and gluten-free goodness. Each flavor is crafted sans artificial flavorings, colors, gelatins, high-fructose corn syrups, or preservatives?all while maintaining gluten-free, kosher-certified status. Of course, customers of the shop?which has more than 1,300 locations in more than 35 countries?can still opt for a traditionally topped cup of yogurt or a fr?zion smoothie. The body bettering doesn?t stop there, as certain topping combinations from its signature fr?zion bar can even support cell membranes and veins, provide antacid and anti-inflammatory relief, or help prevent body aging, especially if bathed in.
Anointed as one of Oprah's Favorite Things in 2005, Moveable Feast's Deeply Fudgey brownies smother biters' bicuspids in moist, rich dark chocolate. The shop's husband-and-wife duo invented the recipe after hundreds of experiments, some of which resulted in mutant turtle-brownie hybrids who still slowly crawl the earth, surprising children at birthday parties and periodically bathing themselves in cups of milk.
On a sunny afternoon spent wandering amid The Berry House Shops, you see a bright flash of green out of the corner of your eye. Intrigued, you turn to stare at a green awning speckled with pink polka dots shading a bright pink door and decide to see what lies inside. The eye-catching decor may have drawn you in, but it’s The Latest Crave’s rows of cupcakes topped with creamy peaks of frosting, stacks of english toffee, and clusters of frosting shots that make you want to stay. Shop owners Elaine and Nancy craft these confections using their original recipes, which detail how to make both milk- and dark-chocolate toffees and cupcakes in a variety of sizes. More than two dozen cupcake flavors including such varieties as cookies 'n' cream and strawberry shortcake to key lime and peanut butter and jelly, rotate throughout the month, and additional seasonal flavors, such as pumpkin and gingerbread, make an appearance when their ingredients are freshest. Some of the cupcakes they create sound as extravagant as a limo made from dinosaur bones; witness the Jack-n-Jill, a milk-chocolate cupcake stuffed with a marshmallow and topped with a hardened layer of chocolate ganache. Even more innovative are the frosting shots—petite chocolate cups brimming with irish-cream, piña-colada, and marshmallow-infused buttercream frostings.