They had me at chocolate. Well, not really. To be truthful, it was coffee. My husband and I were in search of a coffee fix after dropping our daughter off to pre-game practice in a town which we were unfamiliar: Woodstock, in McHenry County. I had no idea what to expect from this rustic looking cafe on the infamous Woodstock Square. What we did uncover was a holy trifecta of handcrafted coffee drinks, a “bean-to-bar” chocolate confectionery, and a from-scratch cafe — all under one roof. I should add that bona fide spirits are also served at this cafe-confectionery-bar. And interesting enough, Woodstock is the town made famous by the movie Groundhog Day; read all about the town’s celebration here.
The digs here are definitely unique. We entered from the historic Woodstock Square and I wasn’t completely sure we were in the right spot to grab a coffee, but there was no way I was turning back. The sweet smell of chocolate and espresso wafted through the building, and a warm greeting from the chocolatier assured me that I would ultimately find what I was seeking. Ahead of me was a delightful display of handmade chocolate truffles, bars, teas, and other locally made goods.
A short walk through a cozy seating area with a comfortable variety of seating options and fine art (for purchase) dotting the walls led us to the cafe and bar area. Housed in a building that dates back to 1889, Ethereal Confections blends its historic surroundings with a modern, hipster vibe. Now I was confident my caffeine would be served, but I couldn’t help but be enamored with the selection of baked goods, small plates, coffee-styles (nitro, pour-over and cold brew) and craft cocktails (as well as beer, wine and liquors) offered here.
The impressive, multi-page menu contained far more options than I anticipated. In fact, there were so many choices that I had a difficult time choosing a cup of coffee. I finally succumbed to a hot Lavender Vanilla Latte and opted to share a scone with my husband. The drink was offered in several forms: hot, iced, or frozen, with an option to substitute coconut milk, and even a selection of corresponding liquors. Ethereal Confections makes beverage personalization an art form. Teas, loose-leaf, organic and hand-blended, are offered traditionally and in latte form. My drink exuded perfection, with just the right hint of lavender and decadent froth. The scone, freshly baked, was delicious and airy.
Breakfast offerings range from baked goods, smoothies, and chocolate infused oats, to French toast bread pudding. Small plate offerings include dishes such as deviled eggs, dates, and various cheese plates. The menu also includes soups, savory panini, and cheese and charcuterie assortments. But the dessert menu is noteworthy and exceptional, with cheesecake, bars, brulee, fruit crisps and triple chocolate cake. And don’t forget this chocolatier’s fine offerings of truffles and meltaways, or try the house recommended pairings of wine, beer, spirits, ciders and chocolate. Non-alcoholic hot chocolate and drinking chocolate is also available.
Ethereal Confections is certainly a one-of-a-kind cafe, and lives up to its motto of “ethically sourced, organically grown, artfully crafted” in everything that it offers, offering plenty to eat, drink and even dry-goods. I can’t wait to come back and try more from the massive menu, unless of course, I am allowed to move into the cafe. Include a visit to Ethereal Confections to your bucket-list the next time you are visiting McHenry County. And with early-morning and late-night hours, there is truly something for everyone here. Ethereal Confections has also made the Little Lake County list of date night ideas in McHenry County; Chocolate, Candy and Sweet Shops; and Family-friendly, Farm-to-Table and Ethical Eats.
Have you been to Ethereal Confections? What is your favorite indulgence here?