A Taste of Heaven at 5401 N. Clark Street in Chicago, specializing in everything from brunch to wedding cakes, is a hometown favorite for comfort food and custom baked creations. Owner and master baker Dan started baking for Chicago restaurants out of his apartment decades ago. With continued success, he moved into increasingly bigger spaces until settling into his current location, in the heart of the Andersonville neighborhood, in 2004.
His passion and attention to detail are clear in everything he does. He'll say something like, "The punch was already really good but I felt like it needed a little something else so I went ahead and added cranberry and vanilla and clove and orange and it's just perfect now." Or he'll tell you something like, "Our house-made fresh whipped cream needed a little extra something so I made some marshmallows from scratch and whipped just a touch of those in to give it just the right texture." He insists on using real vanilla in spite of his accountant's objections throughout multiple price increases. You can tell that he really cares.
As it turns out, attention to detail and a passion for natural ingredients is an ethos we share. Just like I've bought countless slices of ATOH pecan bread—I bought one yesterday, in fact—Dan has bought quite a few Gulliver's Candles. One day while we were chatting, the metaphorical light bulb appeared above my head: we should make a candle inspired by Dan's favorite spices he uses to bake with!
Just like our vision is to make the world a more cozy place through candles, Dan's vision is to bring the world comfort through food. It's a perfect natural fit.
The process took over a year—from brainstorming, to deciding on ingredients, to testing, to changing our minds to get that signature "little something" just right, to more testing, and so forth. We auditioned twelve different oils to see which ones work best together, then adjusted the ratio of our final choices multiple times until it was perfect.
The end result is an olfactory journey, reminiscent of that same comfort you get when you bite into one of those signature Molasses Spice cookies. (Dan still uses his grandmother's classic recipe for that.)
The base is clove, Dan's favorite go-to. As you light it, the clove is prominent at first, then the cinnamon comes forward and warms it up. We chose a very high-quality cinnamon from Madagascar that we haven't used before.
After that gets going for a while, the ginger really comes forward, giving it some brightness and that classic cookie goodness. Then, finally, it's all brought together with the orange. We tried a few different oranges and finally chose a mellow, complex one from the Mediterranean region. It gives a more airy finish that's nuanced and not too bright, maintaining the spicy warmth of the blend.
Our Taste of Heaven candles will be available at A Taste of Heaven itself at 5401 N. Clark Street in Chicago as well as our upcoming events and at our web store, where we ship internationally. However, just like the pumpkin bars and Dan's fruit cake (which is, frankly, a work of art), they'll sell out quickly—so if you're looking for the perfect fall candle, get one before they run out!