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Eat: Chocolat Uzma Sharif
Run by a former Wolfgang Puck pastry chef in Pilsen, Chocolat turns out cocoa-based artistry like disks of chocolate topped with candied rose petals and Kashmiri chai bonbons. If your significant girl (or you, don't lie) is into learning about/eating an insane amount of sweets, introductory choco-making classes are offered on Saturdays.
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Forgo the typical dozen red roses this year for a trio of chocolates with candied rose petals. The petals come from real roses that—in the French tradition—are poached in sugar syrup, coated in sugar, and dried.
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Uzma Sharif spent two years perfecting her bite-size chocolate confections in a rented kitchven before she opened up in this Halsted Street storefront in June. She teaches chocolate-making classes and sells handmade truffles and bonbons—we recommend the Kashmiri chai truffle.
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The latest Culinary Historians event at Kendall College features the fascinating subject of Pakistani chocolate led by Uzma Sharif
The best artisanal chocolate in chicago and on the north shore
A veteran pastry chef, Uzma Sharif decided after 16 years spent working in restaurants to focus on chocolate. She started small, selling at the farmers’ market in Western Springs, but soon her following grew and she opened a retail boutique in the South Loop.
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Always Instagramming their food—Kick things off in Pilsen at one of Uzma Sharif’s chocolate-making classes ($65/person), where you’ll also be able to pick up sweets decorated with candied rose petals, or some sipping chocolate mix.
A Sweet Spot In East Pilsen: Chocolat Uzma Sharif
Good things sometimes come from surprising places. Walking from the Halsted Orange line stop north through the east side of Pilsen, the last thing we would have expected to find was a fine chocolate shop. Luckily, we knew where we were headed: Chocolat Uzma Sharif, a gem of a store in the Chicago Art District on Halsted. Sharif sells truffles, chocolate bars and other goodies, hosts classes and will be exhibiting at the Chicago Fine Chocolate Show, starting today.
Chicago’s Sweet Shop: Chocolat Uzma Sharif
One could say chocolate is more than just a treat for me; it’s kind of an obsession. So it’s no surprise that after strolling East Pilsen’s art district in Chicago, I found myself at the sweetest spot in Pilsen, the chocolate shop Chocolat Uzma Sharif.
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Uzma says she has had a sweet life, surrounded by family and food. Growing up as a first generation Pakistani-American in Chicago and occasionally visiting her family in South Asia, Uzma recalls being greatly influenced by her grandfather, a renowned pastry chef in Pakistan.
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Honestly, every single piece of chocolate I tried at this boutique shop on Halsted is worth eating. In fact, the more you eat the happier you'll be. But I was particularly smitten with this crispy, crunchy offering, which featured both milk and dark chocolate, along with hazelnuts and toasted wafers.
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Graduates have gone on to open more than 100 businesses nationwide, more than half of those in Illinois. Chicago alumni include Amy Hansen of Amy's Candy Bar in Ravenswood, Uzma Sharif of Chocolat Uzma Sharif in Pilsen and Sophie Evanoff of Vanille Patisserie in Lincoln Park and the Loop.
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Two or three cream puffs — the number depends on the size of the puffs and your appetite — go on next, followed by chocolate sauce, whipped cream and a garnish of candied rose petals (we found them at Chocolat Uzma Sharif in Pilsen). You could also use candied violets, candied ginger, or candied orange or lemon zest, Cree notes.
Chocolat Uzma Sharif: Perseverance, pragmatism pay off
"Life in the kitchen is tough, and if 17 years in the culinary industry has taught chef-turned-chocolatier Uzma Sharif anything, it’s that being even tougher is key. It shows."
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Chocolat Uzma Sharif is a locally made line of chocolates with an "East meets West" sensibility. Continuing a family tradition started by her grandfather, a pastry chef in Pakistan, Uzma Sharif hand-makes unique treats such as Rishi organic jasmine tea chocolates, hazelnut-coriander pralines, and—for the holiday season—dark-chocolate-peppermint candy cane truffles.
Chocolat Uzma Sharif - Chocolate Legos - Oct. 23, 2014
Today's Lego chocsimiles* came from Chocolat Uzma Sharif (Chicago, IL). Each colored brick was made from a different chocolate (salted milk, milk and dark chocolate), and was "painted" with a different color cocoa butter "paint." The salmon-colored salted milk chocolate bricks were my favorite.