Often, when someone returns from France, you hear them wistfully speaking of all of the delicious foods they sampled and savored during their time there. And, when they do, they get a distant look in their eye as they remember the baguettes they purchased and took home, wrapped in wax paper and tucked under their arm, from the unbelievable boulangeries (or bakeries). Not surprisingly, they lament the fact that you just can't get the same quality bread here in Chicago. But, I'm glad to say that you can!
Within the last year, it seems like an increasing amount of French boulangeries have popped up across Chicago, offering homemade, crusty baguettes that rival those I enjoyed during a recent trip to Paris. From the North Side to the Loop, there are a number of boulangeries ready and waiting to take you back to your time in France - bite after delicious bite.
Here is a list of local boulangeries offering the best baguettes in Chicago:
Green City Market (Lincoln Park)
Main bakery: 1000 Davis Street (Evanston, Ill.)
Bennison's bakery in Evanston brings its delicious breads to several weekly farmers markets in the Chicago area (when in season). I often buy Bennison's baguettes from their stand at the twice-weekly Green City Market in Lincoln Park. The outdoor Green City Market is open through October. But, you always can find Bennison's baguettes at their bakery in nearby Evanston.
Floriole Cafe & Bakery
1220 W. Webster Ave. (Lincoln Park)
Floriole Cafe & Bakery began selling its breads, pastries and other items from a stand at Green City Market and opened a storefront location in Lincoln Park in 2010. While you can still find Floriole at the popular Lincoln Park farmer's market, it’s worth a trip to the large, sun-filled cafe and bakery to take your pick of its baguettes - and other baked goods.
915 W. Belmont (Lakeview)
La Boulangerie offers an amazing selection of authentic French baguettes, including my favorites - the Epi (which my sons refer to as the "spiked" bread) and the round Marguerite. (Note: La Boulangerie currently only has one Chicago bakery. It closed its Logan Square location at the end of 2013.)
1547 N. Wells St. (Old Town) and 2468 N. Clark St. (Lincoln Park)
Newcomer La Fournette first entered the Chicago boulangerie scene in July 2012. From the time it opened its doors along a busy stretch of Old Town, it earned a reputation for having some of the most authentic French bread in Chicago. Just over a month ago, the French bakery opened its second location in Lincoln Park, making it even easier for Chicagoans to get their fill of La Fournette's breads - and other sweet and savory items.
Where do you buy your favorite French baguettes in Chicago? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. I'll keep updating the list to help make sure fresh baguettes are always in reach!
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