This valentine’s day, give the gift of one-of-a-kind items made right here in Starved Rock Country. We’ve assembled a collection of six amazing artisan businesses, crafting unique gifts - perfect for your partner. Support these craftspeople who have all, in recent years, earned coveted spots on the Illinois Office of Tourism’s popular Illinois Made list.
Illinois Sparkling Co.
106 Mill St., Utica
Illinois Sparkling Co. is deeply committed to quality and authenticity. Its line of traditional-method sparkling wines demands close attention to detail unmatched by other winemaking methods. Each bottle is personally handled from beginning to end, a time-consuming and labor-intensive process that yields impeccable results. Looking for an introduction to the ISC line of locally crafted sparkling wines? Look no further than their Experience Flight Trio, three traditional-method sparkling wines hand selected by the winemakers to show the variety and strengths of their offerings. Proudly made with locally grown grapes, and served at the Illinois Sparkling Co. and August Hill Winery tasting room in downtown Utica, the three wines would all make excellent Valentine’s gift ideas for those looking to shop small.
Fine Field Pottery
Fine Field Pottery, located in the historic brick-making town of Streator, specializes in functional and fun pieces of stoneware. This art is just as beautiful as it is practical, with a wide array of items ranging from plates and mugs to pincushions and honey pots. Consider getting the baker in your life a gorgeously glazed pie plate or French butter keeper. Check out Fine Field Pottery’s Etsy page; the products are shipped nationwide directly from the heart of Starved Rock Country. Looking to browse Fine Field Pottery’s items in person? Pay a visit to the Starved Rock Country Welcome Center and Illinois Made Gift Shoppe in Utica to see a selection of Fine Field Pottery pieces.
Star Union Spirits
300 Fifth St., Peru
This small-batch, micro-distillery is producing exciting craft beverages inside Peru’s historic Westclox building. Star Union Spirits’ diverse portfolio of bottles includes apple, cherry and cabernet sauvignon brandies, grappas, rums, whiskeys and vodka. Try a cocktail at their tasting room or purchase bottles to go. These hand-crafted spirits make excellent gifts for connoisseurs of locally made goods. Act fast, as limited quantities of Star Union Spirits’ highly anticipated 75-25 Light Whiskey, made from corn and rye, are still available to purchase.
Starved Rock Hot Glass
700 W. Main St., Ottawa
For a truly one-of-a-kind piece of art glass, pay a visit to Starved Rock Hot Glass in scenic downtown Ottawa. The city has a rich tradition of glassmaking, and for the last decade, artist Laura Johnson has been adding to the legacy, perfecting a signature line of hand-blown pieces. From her colorful and crowd-pleasing glass flowers to modernist mixed-media pieces made from blown glass and reclaimed driftwood, Starved Rock Hot Glass is a must-visit store if you’re looking to shop small this Valentine’s season. Starved Rock Hot Glass’ popular glass hearts go fast, so be sure to drop by and see what’s in stock.
Tangled Roots Brewing Company
812 La Salle St., Ottawa
Tangled Roots Brewing Company is a brewery in historic downtown Ottawa, offering a locally grown farm-to-foam experience and a roster of delicious craft beers to perfectly complement your trip to the Starved Rock area. At the Tangled Roots tap room, you’ll find one-off experimental beers and limited-run collaborations with other Illinois brewers. For any craft beer fans on your shopping list, pick them up a pack of Tangled Roots’ new limited-time Shamhop. Crafted to perfection, Shamhop Irish Red is a full-bodied ale with a harmonious blend of European caramel and brown malts, dancing alongside subtle herbal and earthy hops. Brewed with care and kissed by an English ale yeast that adds minor fruity notes, it’s a true ode to the classic beers of the Emerald Isle.
821 1st St., La Salle
Millstone Bakery, on downtown La Salle’s First Street, is an artisan shop specializing in handcrafted breads and pastries. An ever-growing selection of baked-from-scratch goods, use of high-quality ingredients and a small-town hangout atmosphere have earned Millstone rave reviews and devoted customers since it opened in June 2022. Now, it officially is being recognized with the prestigious award from the Illinois Office of Tourism. The bakery’s core line of pastries includes chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, pain au chocolate croissants made with semi-dark chocolate, ham and cheese croissants, almond croissants and classic butter croissants. You’ll also find an expansive selection of artisan breads, including their popular sourdough loaves.