Milk Duds, Tootsie Rolls, Cracker Jack, and Frango Mints... what do they have in common besides being some of the sweetest treats around? They were all created in Chicago, America's unofficial candy capital. Sweet Home Chicago: The History Of America's Candy Capital, the latest exhibit at the National Hellenic Museum, examines the sweet history of candy-making in Chicago. Check out the exhibit and then make your way to Chicago's best candy shops for a taste of some of our city's sweetest icons.
Exhibit on America's Candy Capital
This nostalgic exhibit showcase some of America's most beloved candies, while also examining what made our city a candy industry hotspot. Historic photographs, vintage candy wrappers, candy boxes, promotional items, trading cards, and advertisements all demonstrate Chicago's love affair with the confectionery industry.
Be sure to check out the documentary "Candyland USA", a chronicle of the history of candy-making in Chicago, which you can catch at the exhibit.
Sweet Home Chicago: The History Of America's Candy Capital will be presented through December 31, 2016 at the National Hellenic Museum (333. S. Halsted St.) located in Chicago's Greektown in the West Loop neighborhood.
For more information, including hours and admission, visit nationalhellenicmuseum.org.
The Greek American Candy Connection
Located in Chicago's Greektown, the National Hellenic Museum highlights the rich heritage of Greek history, culture, art and the Greek American experience. It's also the perfect venue for hosting this sugar-coated exhibit, thanks to the role that area Greek Americans have played in the building of our candy capital:
In 1906, "The Greek Star," one of America's oldest Greek language newspapers, reported there were 925 Greek-owned candy and ice-cream businesses in Chicago, making major contributions to the city's finances. Only a few years later, in 1914, the Illinois Food Commissioner's Annual Report noted that its "Bulletin No. 28" relating to ice cream, was published in Greek for the benefit of more than 30,000 Greeks in the soda, candy and ice cream business in the State.
Indulge in Greek Candies and Pastries at the Pan Hellenic Pastry Shop
Located just across the street from the National Hellenic Museum, the Pan Hellenic Pastry Shop (322 S. Halsted St.) boasts delicious Greek-style sweets, including anise twist cookies, baklava, galaktoboureko and sesame candy.
More Must-Visit Chicago Candy Shops
After you check out the exhibit, head to some of Chicago's best candy shops to sample the treats that made our city the candy capital. Whimsical Candy (175 N. Franklin St.) is an adorable downtown candy shop that creates small batch, handcrafted sweets that you won't find anywhere else in the world. Candyality (520 N. Michigan Ave.) is a retro candy lovers dream. where you're sure to find a case of colorful Chuckles, a jumbo carton of candy cigarettes or a box filled with candy necklaces. At the Fudge Pot in Old Town (1532 N. Wells St.), you'll find handcrafted chocolates, made fresh daily, since 1963. On The Magnificent Mile downtown, Dylan's Candy Bar (445 N. Michigan Ave.) has two floors packed to the brim with candy, including a darling lollipop tree.
Photos courtesy of National Hellenic Museum, Elios Photography