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Original Products of Chicago

11 Aug

You already know Chicago is famous for a lot of things: Pizza, the Blackhawks, Hot Dogs, Skyscrapers, but there are some historic products of Chicago that you may not have known…


Not really found in too many other cities, giardiniera is a pickled & jarred topping that comes mild, spicy, and ridiculously hot.  The addition of giardiniera is synonymous with Chicago fast food staples like Italian Sausage and Italian Beef Sandwiches, but Chicagoans also love to put in on pizza.  Although Chicago did not invent it (Italy is the originator), Chicago has a very unique style: giardiniera flavor has to do with the small size of the vegetables, the oil they’re packed in, and, of course, it’s connection to Italian beef.  Iconic Chicago food makers Vienna Beef as well as Al’s Beef create & bottle their own giardiniera.  Here’s a recipe that takes about 4 days to make, if you’d like to try and replicate it.


Malort is a semi-famous liqueur, mostly known for tasting, well, quite bad.  In fact, there’s a flickr solely dedicated to people’s facial expressions after trying the alcohol: Malort FaceJeppson’s Malört is the only brand of bäsk made in the United States and is named after Carl Jeppson, the Swedish immigrant who first popularized and sold the liquor in Chicago. Malört is the Swedish word for wormwood, which is the key ingredient in a bäsk brännvin.  Order it at a local bar, and chances are you’ll get the bartender’s attention as well as a probable raise of their eyebrows.



Becoming more & more nationwide, Intelligentsia originated here, and arguably brews the best coffee and tea (at least in our opinion). The company was founded in 1995 by Doug Zell and Emily Mange; They generally buy their beans directly from growers in Central America, South America, East Africa, and Ethiopia. They currently operate four gas-powered Ideal Rapid Gothot Roasters at the Chicago Roasting Works. Two 90-kilo roasters and a 23-kilo reside in Chicago and a 40 kilo in Los Angeles. The machines date from the 1950s and were handcrafted from cast-iron and steel in Stuttgart, Germany   Every drink is brewed to order and the time waited proves extremely rewarding as the drinks prove unlike any other café beverage.  Intelligentsia also promotes knowledge of brewing processes through classes & workshops, learn more here, and visit them at 3123 N. Broadway Ave.

*Taquerias of Pilsen.

Delve into Chicago’s world of authentic taquerias.  What better way to do so then checking out the flavorful neighborhood of Pilsen.  No other community reflects its Latino heritage through street art, shops, restaurants and their terrific National Museum of Mexican Art.  Stop for a handmade tortas (Mexican style sandwich) at the famous La Casa Del Pueblo, or try a delicious tamale from El Milagro.  Pilsen is located off the 18th Street stop on the Pink Line.

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