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Sweet Symphony

Juicing and cleanses may be all the rage, but we’re still fond of a sugary indulgence every now and then. Thankfully, there’s an abundance of new bakeries and pastry shops to tempt even the most health-conscious passerby.

Wicker Park’s latest sweets destination, A Baker’s Tale

1. A Baker’s Tale
This recently opened Wicker Park bakery and cafe from pastry pro Christine LaSorda boasts a whimsical indoor tree festooned with leaves crafted from book pages, antique objets and Alice in Wonderland artwork. Expect inventive flavor combinations —we’re already huge fans of the honey basil blueberry cupcakes—and a savory selection of expertly prepared sandwiches (think grilled brie with cremini mushrooms, arugula and pesto), soups and salads. Don’t forget a cup of locally roasted Passion House coffee! 2127 W. Division St., 872.206.5581

2. Sugar Hills Bakery
This west suburban go-to for show-stopping cakes opened its first Chicago branch last week, and we’re already smitten. On top of its signature European-inspired sweets (all of which are free of high fructose corn syrup and artificial ingredients), this Avondale emporium offers a delectable assortment of breakfast sandwiches and Intelligentsia coffee. Even sweeter: What isn’t sold at the end of the day is donated to charity. 3235 W. Addison St., 773.961.7077

3. Vanille Patisserie
Lake-side sweet tooths, take note: Now you can get your pastry fix closer to home, thanks to Vanille’s new spot right next to Lincoln Park. Revel in traditional (not to mention decadent) French macarons, petit fours and pate de fruit in an ever-changing range of flavors, served alongside butter croissants and handcrafted chocolate bars ready to be enjoyed tout suite. 2108 N. Clark St., 773.868.4574

4. Wheat’s End Morning Cafe
A neighborhood gem if we ever saw one, Wheat’s End Morning Cafe operates out of Senza, the only gluten-free restaurant in the world to be awarded a Michelin star. Shop an assortment of similarly wheat-free artisan breads and pastries (we’re partial to the date maamouls), but be sure to come early. As the name implies, this cafe closes at noon Monday through Friday and 2PM on Sundays. 2873 N. Broadway, 773.994.0332

5. West Town Bakery
Although not the newest kid on the sweets scene, WTB’s storefront in the Acme Hotel, which opened in the middle of last year, is still one of our favorites for an early-morning treat or afternoon pick-me-up. On the top of our list: cheddar bacon scallion scones, massive doughnuts (any flavor will do) and a large Dark Matter coffee to go, please! 15 E. Ohio St., 312.894.0800