Chicago O'Hare

When traveling to a new place, I’m all about feasting on the regional fare, sampling local cocktails and of course indulging in the creative confections. This goes beyond a destination’s iconic bites like Chicago’s deep dish pizza or a mustard-only-style hot dog and drills down to the hyper-local flavors that weave their way into the culinary and beverage landscape of the Chicagoland area. Here at Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel in Rosemont we’ve just stepped up our culinary game by partnering with three local businesses to bring you, our guest, a taste of some very unique, creative and tasty delights that are part of the ever-growing boutique ‘mom-and-pop’ type foodie scene. Let’s meet the crew.

Veruca Chocolates

Pediatrician turned chocolatier Heather Johnston, founder of Veruca Chocolates, creates boutique chocolate confections for chocolate lovers with discriminating taste and an eye for beauty. Each piece is handmade with only the finest ingredients, and hand-finished to entice the eye as well as the palate. All of Veruca Chocolates’ confections are made by hand in Chicago, and are certified Kosher by the Chicago Rabbinical Council. Guests will be able to tantalize their taste buds with specially paired desserts at The Ashburn, through in-room amenities, and more.

Wasn’t it everyone’s dream to sit in a tub full of some of the finest chocolates around? I know I did, and while I was not able to fulfill this dream of mine, I did get to meet, chat and with our Flavor Partner, Heather while she relaxed among her absolutely beautiful (and tasty) confections.

Get to know Heather of Veruca Chocolates… and why you cannot miss trying one of her chocolate creations!

How did you get involved with Veruca Chocolates and have you always had a passion for making such delicious and unique flavors?

I started taking chocolate making classes while I was still practicing medicine, and then when I left that profession, the hobby became my new life. I love working with chocolate as an artistic medium — it takes flavor, color and texture beautifully. I did not really know that much about flavor combinations when I started, but I love to try new things and just jump in.

How long have you been in your role with Veruca Chocolates and how long as the company been around?

I launched Veruca Chocolates in 2011 and I have always been the sole owner and lead Chocolatier.

What is your favorite chocolate you make and why?

My favorite (and what I often sneak off the tray when no one is looking) is our gooey anise caramel. The combination of salty caramel and rich anise flavor is totally divine. It’s also my favorite color combination on the outside: pale silvery blue and vibrant orange.

What makes Veruca Chocolates unique and different from the rest out there on the market?

Definitely our combination of unique beauty with incredible quality — it’s hard to maintain the highest standard as a food company grows, but I believe we still achieve this everyday. I have a small team that I work with, and we are all incredibly dedicated to making the most scrumptious and beautiful chocolates people have ever eaten.

What was your favorite part about this photo shoot you were a part of at Loews Chicago O’Hare?

Pouring liquid chocolate out of a carafe into a champagne flute while not looking — that took skill that I didn’t even know that I had!

So whether you’re just in for a day or here for an extended get-away, be sure to stop by The Ashburn and try one of speciality prepared desserts with the help of some sweet treats by Veruca Chocolates.

Rare Bird Preserves

Rare Bird Preserves provides an elevated savory and sweet flavor experience, utilizing only the highest quality of fruit and ingredients. Owner Elizabeth Madden has perfected her technique for amplifying flavor and her passion shines through in her small-batch preserves. Blending seasonal fruits with herbs, chocolates, teas, and other exceptional ingredients in copper pots, she produces deliciously unique spreads that can be enjoyed year-round. Select flavors of Rare Bird Preserves are made in exceptionally small batches — often limited to as few as 20 jars. Guests will be able to savor Rare Bird Preserves through breakfast and desserts as well as in sauces used in dishes on the menu at The Ashburn, in-room dining, and in banquets.

Filbert’s Old Time Root Beer

Family owned and operated Filbert’s Old Time Root Beer became a Chicago tradition in 1926, during the Prohibition era, when the Filbert family created a recipe distinct from other area root beer bottlers and began making a “draft style” root beer soda. With over 90 years of serving the Chicagoland area, Filbert’s Old Fashioned Root Beer, now run by Ron Filbert, allows locals and visitors alike to enjoy a sip of the city’s history. Filbert’s Old Time Root Beer is the only remaining soda bottling company in the Chicagoland area and one of only two in the state of Illinois. Guests will be able to enjoy a refreshing Filbert’s Old Time Root Beer at The Ashburn, and the vibrant and delicious variety of flavors will be available for soda breaks in the banquets department.

So on your next journey to Chicago and Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel, be sure come hungry — and save room for a flavorful experience!

Kelly