Melissa Elsmo

Since opening in 2010,  Donna Fantetti-Slepicka. owner of River Forest Chocolates, and her dedicated team of chocolate-loving workers have been putting a sweet spin on the holiday season. Stepping into the newly-expanded River Forest shop is sure to melt the heart of any holiday Grinch. 

Scents of simmering caramel permeate the store, as steady flow of customers make selections from an abundance of indulgent treats. Vases overflow with colorful candy canes, gift wrapped boxes of chocolate line the shelves and a Christmas tree in the corner is decorated entirely with edible candy including comically gigantic gumballs. The whimsical energy is undeniable.

“We have phenomenal stocking-stuffers here,” says Fantetti-Slepicka enthusiastically, “we’ve got everything from vintage candy to unexpected treats; I love it all!” 

In addition to chocolate covered strawberries, barques and brittles, the shop peddles retro ribbon candy, hull-free caramel corn, peppermint dipped cookies, and chocolate covered smores. They also have a wide selection of chocolate Santas to meet your gift-giving needs.

Just for fun, Oak Park Eats tasked the hard working folks at River Forest Chocolates with the nearly impossible job with naming their favorite item in the shop. After some considerable thought they named a wide variety of chocolate covered confections.

Check out their recommendations:

  • Donna Fantetti-Slepicka selected a giant un-decorated German gingerbread cookie. Not only is the festive cookie delicious and nut-free, but the gingerbread man offers creative families the opportunity to personalize it at home with loads of sprinkles and frosting!
  • Kitchen Assistant/decorator, Annelise Steele, named the dark chocolate covered oranges as her favorite holiday treat because they are decadent and sweet. Steele is a vegan and all of River Forest Chocolates’ dark chocolate meets vegan dietary requirements.
  • “Everything is my favorite,” days Helen Borkowskh as she restocks the chocolate case, “but I pick the sea salt caramels!” Since opening in 2010,  Fantetti-Slepicka and her team have been hand-enrobing their signature salted caramels in a high-end couverture chocolate. Couverture chocolate has a higher than average cocoa-butter content and yields the creamier texture River Forest Chocolates’ boutique treats are known for.
  • Benita Contursi, has a heavy hand in organizing the attractive displays in the shop and names their best-selling English toffee as an ideal stocking-stuffer. The toffee is crafted in small batches, with pure cane sugar. covered rich milk chocolate then generously finished with chopped roasted almonds. 
  • Willing to pitch-in anywhere in the shop, Lori Treffens, thoughtfully selected the River Forest Tortoise as her favorite holiday treat available at the shop. Each River Forest Tortoise is created with couverture milk or dark chocolate, creamy caramel and freshly roasted salted nuts. Each tortoise is made by hand and finished with a signature “R.” (Insider tip: enter now to win a dozen of these goodies as part of our exclusive “12 Days of Eat Más” contest.)

As if things were not sweet enough at the Lake Street shop, Fantetti-Slepicka enhances the guest experience at River Forest Chocolates by ensuring Santa Claus will be on site every Saturday from 1-3pm. Families are encouraged to bring their children to visit Santa during those hours. River Forest Chocolates also accepts letters to Santa and the inclusion of a return address on any letter guarantees a written response from Santa himself. Santa Claus has also been known to hand deliver chocolates for interested customers. Visit the shop and chat with Fantetti-Slepicka directly to learn more about this unique holiday service.

Any day of the year is more than a little sweeter after a visit River Forest Chocolates, but pop on by in the coming weeks to get a piece of chocolate and a proper holiday feeling.

River Forest Chocolates

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