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All photos courtesy of individual restaurants unless otherwise noted.

Chocolate warms both the body and soul, offering serious comfort on a frigid winter day. We’ve searched far and wide to find the best chocolate desserts in Chicago and the North Shore (tough job, but someone’s got to do it!). From bonbons to baklava, our chocolate roundup has everything you need next time you’ve got a chocolate craving.

Travelle 

For a Mediterranean twist on chocolate dessert, pastry chef Scott Green’s Nutella baklava is to die for. This signature dessert is the ideal representation of the modern Mediterranean flavors that Travelle is known for. Instead of a traditional ground pistachio and honey filling, layers of phyllo sandwich a thick smudge of Nutella studded with hazelnuts. Chocolate mousse and tuille adorn the plate—because more chocolate is never a bad thing. Pops of tangerine and balsamic pearls balance all the chocolate with a punch of acidity. 330 N. Wabash Ave., Chicago, 312-923-7705

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Photo by Amber Gibson.

Michael 

There’s no better way to end a meal at chef Michael Lachowicz’s classic French restaurant than with a hot fallen chocolate soufflé. It’s the most elegant and sultry of the chocolate desserts on the menu, although the chocolate dacquoise bombe is equally delicious. A scoop of hazelnut crusted butterscotch gelato melts lovingly into the soufflé and the crunch of hazelnuts accents the creamy swirl of butterscotch and chocolate. 64 Green Bay Road, Winnetka, 847-441-3100

Pump Room

Chicago is famous for deep dish pizza, so pastry chef Maria Martinez was inspired to create a dessert version. Here, a chocolate chip cookie made with dark Chocovic chocolate from Spain is topped with housemade malt ice cream. 1301 N. State Parkway, Chicago, 312-229-6740

Michael Jordan’s Steak House 

In honor of Michael Jordan’s jersey number, this decadent 23-layer tower of wobbly chocolate cake and chocolate coffee ganache goodness stands precariously upright. Before it can topple, your server swoops in and gently tips it sideways, smearing the vanilla whipped cream evenly across and dividing the bounty in half for sharing. It’s just too bad Jordan’s number wasn’t even higher. 505 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 312-321-8823

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Belgian Chocolatier Piron 

Pick out a selection of boozy bonbons flavored with cognac, cherry brandy or Grand Marnier or try the newest Patrice, with three layers of chocolate hazelnut praline, dark chocolate ganache and a milk chocolate coating. There’s also a new chocolate-hazelnut spread, your artisanal alternative to Nutella. 509 Main St., Evanston, 847-864-5504

The Boarding House 

After traveling to a chocolate farm in Punta Gorda, Belize, pastry chef Julia Fitting has a newfound appreciation for cacao. She was inspired to create “an homage to the incredible cocoa plant” featuring chocolate in six different forms—cake, crispy pears, ganache glaze, feuilletine and streusel, all served with Bobtail’s chocolate bourbon ice cream. 720 N. Wells St., Chicago, 312-280-0720

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Bohemian House 

Chef Jimmy Papadopoulos uses 64 percent extra bitter dark chocolate custard for a powerful chocolate punch at this new River North restaurant. Cacao Barry’s Guayaquil chocolate has a bitter, roasted flavor with nutty banana undertones. Housemade garnishes—salted caramel ice cream, candied peanuts, butterscotch and cocoa tuile—sweeten and dress up the intense chocolate base. 11 W. Illinois St., Chicago, 312-955-0439

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Photo by Amber Gibson.

Inovasi 

The cryptic “Colombian Chocolate x3” is sure to satisfy any chocoholic. Chef John des Rosiers uses Luker chocolate from Colombia, grown on small family farms. A half sphere of dense dark chocolate is filled with a liquid milk chocolate center, suspended in a white chocolate soup and garnished with basil purée and citrus zest. 28 E. Center Ave., Lake Bluff, 847-295-1000

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Bistrot Zinc 

Chocolate mousse is an iconic bistro dessert—a pure and simple expression of chocolate at its finest. Chef Tim Kirker uses Valrhona Caribe 66 percent dark chocolate (for its strength of flavor and fruity notes ) in his smooth and airy mousse, adding a splash of Grand Marnier liqueur and crème anglaise for contrast. 1131 N. State St., Chicago, 312-337-1131

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Patisserie Coralie 

Pascal Berthoumieux expands his French empire in Evanston with a pastry shop helmed by young Frenchman Manuel Bouillet. A pâte sucrée crust is piped with fine almond cream and gianduja ganache for a hazelnut milk chocolate tartlette. The éclair envelops dark chocolate cremeux in crisp pâte a choux, topped with chocolate glaze and gold leaf. 600 Davis St., Evanston, 847-905-0491