The stylists at a French-inspired Gold Coast salon send all their clients to Sarah's Pastries & Candies, swearing it's the closest thing Chicago has to an authentic patisserie. Those who take the recommendation to heart will quickly discover a charming corner cafe true to its mauve and pink theme. Twenty-something chocolate extraordinaire Sarah Levy has taken her skills from the French Pastry School and applied them to her new sweet creation, Sarah's Pastries and Candies, with a conveyor belt and all.
Tables are set up outside where guests nibble on their croissants and take in the shoppers along this exclusive retail strip. Inside, Sarah's Candies are clustered together in 3.5-ounce portions. Cookbooks and wedding books line the shelves. The extra touch of love is evident in the framed quotes about the importance of chocolate displayed alongside the candies.
Specialty chocolate candies include chocolate pecan turtles and coconut almond crunch, with sugar-free options available. Delicate truffles come in peppermint, passion fruit and vanilla bean varieties, to name a few. At less than two bucks each, it's easy to try a new one every day. Your indulgence will be in good company, too: Her chocolates have graced Jim Belushi's 50th birthday and a fundraiser thrown by Sharon Osbourne and Elton John. Avoid the temptation to load up solely on candy: It's sinful to leave without sampling one of the signature black and white cupcakes with half cocoa fudge and half vanilla fudge frosting. Petit fours, tarts, brownies, cookies, chocolate bars (organic included), gelato...whatever your poison, Sarah's Pastries & Candies does it best. Jaw-dropping specialty cakes include white with dark chocolate mousse, pecan nougatine and vanilla buttercream, not to be outdone by the equally inspiring chocolate cake with caramel creme brulee, almond-hazelnut crunch and chocolate buttercream.
Sarah's Candies are available at Whole Foods, Caffe de Luca, Olivia's Market and countless other locales, but it's worth a trip to Oak Street's only patisserie to sample those extra touches of love.
Centerstage Reviewer: Robin Wright