Chicago-born Michael Canady was working overseas as an academic adviser in the oil industry when he discovered a passion for making chocolates. He studied with masters in New York, Switzerland and Belgium before settling into the charming South Loop storefront that now bears his name. One of the city's few confectioners that still make everything on-site, Canady is visible behind his glass-walled kitchen as he works to fill his display case with nearly 60 varieties of handcrafted chocolate treats.
The candies look like miniature works of art, brilliantly hand-painted, molded, dipped or otherwise fashioned in exquisite detail (purchase a selection, and you'll receive them tucked inside an elegant paper box). The genteel Canady favors traditional styles and flavors like fruits and liqueurs, which beget tart-sweet gels and creamy ganaches. Nuts get star treatment, whether piled into clusters with caramel and velvety milk chocolate, or individually hand-dipped like the almond Dragees. On a warm night, Canady's inventive gelatos are unrivaled.
A modest selection of artful paninis and coffee drinks make the shop a lovely stop in the afternoon or evening, and Canady has already grown popular with the neighborhood's students and blossoming community. Be sure to say hello when you stop in; his warm welcome and friendly conversation make the sweets taste all the better.
Centerstage Reviewer: Julia Steinberger