The Quirky Blog, Meet the Community Member


My cousin, Meredith, is a college sophomore.  When word spread to vote for her invention on Quirky.com, of course I did.  When a new email announced the wonderful article about Meredith in the inaugural Quirky.com blog, I checked that out, too.  With pride and pleasure.

And surprise(!) listed among Meredith's accomplishments and influences was mention of her cousin's edible candle invention.  With a LINK! To this site! So that's how this social media stuff works!

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Dying for Chocolate Blog by Janet Rudolph

http://dyingforchocolate.blogspot.com/2014/08/have-your-cake-and-eat-your-candles-too.htmlThursday, August 29, 2014

 "Hey Neely and Loree," began Sharon's email, alerting us that she'd shared our contact info with Janet Rudolph.  The introduction led to my first-ever guest blog post.  I was flattered to be asked and humbled to be among the company of such talented, tasteful women.

Sharon Fiffer:  Author and editor of many publications, including the celebrated Jane Wheel mystery series, Sharon's talents have recently been put to work on set decoration for the creative web series Matching Pursuit.

Neely Cohen: Pastry chef and winner of the Food Network show Sweet Genius in December 2013, Neely plans to open a chocolate-dedicated cafe in Peterborough, NH soon.  Contribute to her Kickstarter campaign if you love chocolate! 


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Locally Sourced at the Patio”, 2021 N Stockton Drive, Chicago, IL. (312) 742-2400

Wednesdays, May 28 – August 27, 2014, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

As Labor Day approaches, it's hard not to savor the summer.  Be it swimming outside (my husband's favorite), or the sweet treat of cherries (cue me), some things are all the more special because their season is short.

On August 20th, my friend, Helen, introduced me to a Chicago secret.  In the heart of the Lincoln Park Zoo, behind the Arts and Crafts masterpiece Cafe Brauer, is a summertime special, just ending its second year.  Live music and local artisans enhance the outdoor cafe and pond.  With the skyline as a backdrop, the "Locally Sourced at the Patio" experience is sure to become a fan favorite. "Share my table," Helen beckoned.  So Let Them Eat Candles sat beside Rock Candy by Helen, and she and I sipped hard cider under the setting sun.

Don't wait until next summer to check out my artisan favorites:

Helen's jewelry ranges from one-of-a-kind pieces with vintage elements to pendants incorporating the artwork of her rocker-husband, Jon Langford.

Krista B August spent 3 years researching and painting the statues in Chicago's Lincoln Park, a project which culminated in the award-winning book: Giants in the Park.

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Cacao Barry hosts Chef Frederic Loraschi, “Coupe Glacee” demo

Kendall College, 900 N North Branch Street, Chicago, IL.

Although I couldn't attend the Chocolate Academy's 3-day class featuring visiting Chef Frederic Loraschi, I did get to his Cacao Barry Coupe Glacee Demo hosted by Kendall College.

I should have planned better.  I could have lunched beforehand in The Dining Room at Kendall College, the noteworthy, award-winning restaurant.  Next time.

The demo space at Kendall is glorious and Chef Loraschi was engaging and approachable.  Tasked with highlighting Zephyr, "The next generation of White Chocolate," he didn't disappoint.  My favorite recipe of the day: white chocolate passion fruit ice cream.

Come to think of it, who needed lunch on a day so rich with dessert?

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Rock N Wool’s adorable logo is sure to make you reach for a corkscrew.

Winemaker and owner Shaun has worn many creative hats – filmmaker, graphic novelist, athletic trainer, and as of last month, father.  What finally drove this man to drink?  He might argue that the Wisconsin land his family has owned and operated for decades inspired a return to the soil.  But I’m thinking it could be years of defeat to a bunch of middle-aged women on the basketball court.  Just sayin’.

Let Them Eat Candles is proud to help celebrate Rock N Wool's grand opening.  Just don't light up in the hundred-year old barn, even if it has been converted into a shop....

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Guys might belly up to a bar after basketball, but my gal pals and I hit the Bent Fork Bakery post-hoops.  Why else work out?

The bright pink polka-dot shop is about cakes and cookies and tea breads, for sure (the best chewy ginger molasses cookies ever), but antique junkies can also get their fix.  You really never know what you’ll walk out with!

When edible candles were just an idea, Bent Fork owner Liz generously, patiently answered all kinds of market research questions.  And she shared her inspiring start-up story, and I couldn’t wait until I Let Them Eat Candles were sitting on her shelves.

Thanks, Liz.  It's game time.  And we make a great team!

Bent Fork Bakery, 335 Waukegan Avenue, Highwood, IL.  847.926.4438

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In March I attended Craft Mafia’s panel entitled Get it On the Shelf.   Artisans in the audience were jewelers, letter-pressers, clothing designers, woodworkers – makers of anything but food, it seemed.   Still I listened as Shirley, co-owner of Wolfbait & B-girls, described her boutique and it’s mission.

The Logan Square store showcases goods made in Chicago.  The goal is a unique shopping experience for customers as well as an unparalleled opportunity for budding and established entrepreneurs.

“Listen to us, without being defensive,” Shirley implored the crowd.  “We hear comments all day long, so what we tell you comes straight from consumers and will help your business.”

Shirley and her partner, Jenny, follow their own advice.  Wolfbait is well edited and merchandised with items you’ve likely not seen elsewhere.  I didn’t know how much I wanted goat soap until I saw the gorgeous bars from Gretta’s Goats.  Made in small batches from animals that graze on a local farm with all organic ingredients.  Uh, bring it.

While Let Them Eat Candles is one of only a few Wolfbait edibles, they are comfortably at home amongst all the handmade originals.  Still hungry? Stop for a bite at Lula’s Café around the corner.  Chicago has plenty of awesome to offer.  Just ask the right bird dogs, or b-girls.

Wolfbait & B-girls

Wolfbait & B-girls, 3131 West Logan Boulevard, Chicago, IL.  312.698.8685


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Katherine Anne Confections2745 West Armitage Avenue, Chicago, IL. 773.245.1630

Renting kitchen time for my production in 12-hour shifts gives me a vantage point somewhere between fly on the wall and one of the gang.  And observing Katherine’s operation is as instructive as it is inspirational.  During her 8 years in business, Katherine’s offerings have grown exponentially, and her truffles, caramels and marshmallows sell in more than 40 stores and 7 weekly markets.  Her staff of 7 includes full and part-timers.

As I hauled in equipment and got to work on my first day, they hand-wrapped thousands of mints for a law firm, set up a tiered display for a wedding show at the Chicago Historical Society, and packaged PB&J filled chocolate eggs for Easter.

“I can’t believe what you’ve built without ever going to college,” I mention, awestruck.

“I’m more proud of doing this without any financial assistance or connections,” Katherine counters.

Besides the mouthwatering confections, the charming storefront has a menu including soup and sandwiches.  But the real draw is the hot chocolate “flights”: with choices like bittersweet, peppermint mocha or salted caramel topped with blocky marshmallows in flavors like lemon ginger and peanut Fleur de Sel.

“What’s your favorite?” Katherine cheerfully asks throughout the day, handing truffle samples to visitors, including the UPS and USPS delivery guys.


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At the French Pastry School, a fellow student noted, “everyone who works with chocolate is happy.”  Back home she was a part-time health-care lobbyist and used other adjectives to describe those colleagues.

This blog features folks who've crossed my path, places I've been, things I've learned along this journey.  Not everything has to do with chocolate, but I encourage you to stop into the shops, make a day at shows, learn about techniques and discover a whole lot of happiness for yourself!

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