Oh boy, do we have a glorious treat for you today! Recently, we were told about this fab new place called Bunn Gourmet in Springfield (Illinois, that is). It didn't take much convincing for us to go, since it was described as being "the most beautiful place in all of Springfield." We decided to meet up there for a little Mod Circus rendezvous on a weeknight after work. Let's just say, we left feeling completely in awe of how great this place really is. It couldn't be more cliche, but we kept saying, "it really is so gourmet!"
When you first walk in, you are treated to the most spectacular view of a huge candy wall full of apothecary jars of different colored candies. If that alone doesn't do it for you, there are shelves upon shelves of delicious looking chocolates and every sort of candy imaginable. Directly in front of the candy wall is a whole counter full of handmade chocolate that they make in house. During some hours, you can watch them make the candy in what they call their "chocolate theatre." This place puts Willy Wonka to shame.
Let's pause for a little background on how this place came into being. Bunn (you know, the coffee makers you see everywhere?) is based in Springfield. They've teamed up with other local companies: Pease's, who handles the candy operation, and Incredibly Delicious, who provides the lovely baked goods, soups, sandwiches and quiches. We love shopping and buying local any time, but this is a truly magical marriage of local companies coming together.
The handmade chocolates from Pease's are truly incredible. The flavors range from your typical dark and milk chocolates to more unique tastes, like white chocolate peanut butter and hazelnut frangelico. You can buy the chocolates individually or mix and match.
Not really a chocolate or candy person? We think you're a little crazy, but we don't judge around here. No worries though, you can still enjoy the Bunn Gourmet cafe area. They have non-sweet food too! And wine! And whiskey! And coffee! And champagne! Oh my. We decided to line our stomachs with a good base of hearty food before venturing into the sweets territory.
Molly went for the quiche of the day, which had bacon, roasted red peppers, and other goodies with a side of tomato bisque. They were both so flavorful and delicious!
Jodi tried a soup and sandwich combo. The broccoli cheese soup and chicken salad on croissant made a great pair and went well with her mimosa.
The restaurant section of Bunn Gourmet is decorated just a stylishly as the candy part. There are several small tables or you can cozy up on the comfy couch and chairs next to the fireplace for a more informal setting. This would be the perfect place to zone out with a cup of their delicious coffee and a book!
We didn't try it this go-around, but you can also take cuts of meat to go if you just want to sip a nice coffee and then head home to make a tasty dinner. Like the rest of the experience, the meat is local too, raised at Bunn farms! Judging by the quality of everything else we tried, I can't imagine these cuts being anything less than top-notch.
After dinner, we perused the impressive dessert case. Have you ever seen anything so lovely? The desserts ranged from cheesecake to tarts and there were also muffin and cookies on the other side. It was so hard to choose just one, so we got a few to share (with each other). The cheesecake is absolutely some of the best we've ever had.
Being a beverage place, we knew we had to try some coffee too, and we finished off our meal with espressos, which were just what we needed after indulging in all of that deliciousness. They also offer lattes, cappuccinos, hot chocolate and Irish coffees. This was about the closest to sipping espressos in Italy as you can get without flying to Italy. Truly top-notch.
Ok, so all the "stuff" was so wonderful and so well done, but that can still make for an empty experience without the people. But, everyone working there was so friendly and accommodating. That was really the icing on the ridiculously good cake. We had an especially lovely server, Miranda, who really radiated her love for working there, saying it was so nice to work in place where the employees really loved it and sitting around the fireplace felt as cozy as home. I mean, we're ready to move in!
We had such a fantastic time at Bunn Gourmet! It's the perfect spot for catching up with friends or taking your mom for Mother's Day (hint, hint). Run, don't walk to check it out soon! You can thank us later. :)