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La Farine Bakery: A Necessary Indulgence

By Megan Tempest in Food on Dec 17, 2009 5:20PM

This week we encountered the heavenly concoctions of a humble West Town bakery known as La Farine. Owner Rida Shahin has been inconspicuously supplying some of Chicago’s most beloved restaurants for years. This October he finally opened up his modest Chicago Avenue storefront to the public.

La Farine’s menu boasts a fine selection of fresh breads, including the Rosemary Olive Oil, Walnut Raisin, and Fig Anise. You’ll also find a delightful mixture of cookies, cakes and pastries, along with a small but sufficient selection of sandwiches under $7 each. At the firm insistence of a fellow La Farine patron, we sampled the plain Ciabatta loaf. This delicate and airy loaf, with a perfectly crispy, chewy crust, was anything but plain. The Morning Bun - flakey croissant dough woven with cinnamon and sugar - proved to be an enchanting coffee companion. The buttery Blueberry Scone possessed a nearly perfect balance of lightly-sweet and salty, with some otherworldly lemony goodness thrown in.

Shahin combines simple, wholesome ingredients to whip up some of the most exquisite breads and pastries in Chicago. He deliberately shuns loads of sugar and unhealthy oils in favor of fundamentals like flour, yeast, water and salt. For comparison, the Blueberry Scone sold at Panera Bread contains nearly 400 calories and a triple threat of sugar, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup; their popular Cinnamon Crunch Bagel hosts a slew of unsavory ingredients, including partially hydrogenated oil and additives like propylene glycol. You’ll get much cleaner, and no doubt better tasting, pastries and breads from Shahin.

When your sweet tooth needs satisfying, or your carb cravings are nagging, make a point to experience La Farine for yourself.

La Farine Bakery, 1461 W. Chicago Ave., 312-850-4019