Trek up to Grayslake and step inside Cacao Sweets and Treats. It’s then that you’ll find a newfound appreciation for the word “organic”.
Candice Hunsinger, owner and baker, is never one to sugarcoat it – no pun intended. She admits that starting her own business was a risk and that first year made it all the more evident. She and her husband, Adam, had always dreamed about opening up a neighborhood bakery where locals could come and gather, but those first few months posed the question: where were the locals? Sure, people would stroll in from time to time. However, they’d simply order their treats and then hit the road again. Eventually, those grab-and-go treats spoke for themselves.
They’re real, they’re pure, they’re made from scratch, and damn! They’re delicious. Each and every last one of her sweets and breads are organic, local, and non-GMO. As Candice so eloquently put it, “This is truly the opposite of fast food. From the way we make our treats with the passion and time they deserve, to hoping you’ll slow down and grab a cup of Lake Forest-roasted Reprise coffee and enjoy a cookie or biscuit with us.”
It’s not just the food, though. As I sipped on my almond milk latte and perused around the shop, I noticed its subtle charm. The wood side-paneling is still intact from the previous tenant, only to be painted a fresh ivory shade that’s been adorned with handmade decorations. Tucked in the corner is a shelving unit filled with jams, butters, candles, cookbooks, and cutlery – all of which are crafted across the Chicagoland area. Hanging from the ceiling are whisk-inspired light fixtures, which I later found out were designed and installed by Candice’s husband. The furniture is an eclectic, vintage collection of chairs and couches, whereas the back room is dedicated to seasonal events. In this case, it was Valentine’s Day. Guests were able to make cards and select their own bouquet of flowers, which were then hand-wrapped in butcher paper. Everything is truly organic and made with love.
As I packed up my camera and gathered the rest of my things, I took one more sweep around the shop and noticed a few familiar faces. The people – a mother and daughter splitting a croissant, three kids playing tag, a gentleman reading the newspaper, and a group of girls out for a long weekend breakfast – were all still there. Yep, even the conversations are organic. Mission accomplished, Candice.