Midwest Living Review
Part marketplace, part festival, Chesterton's European Market is an open-air affair that's as welcome as springtime when it opens each May. While it's called European, the fresh offerings are distinctly Midwestern. Vendors assemble early for the 8 a.m. opening; we follow suit to line up for our favorites from The Cheese People of Illinois: Gouda with mustard seed and Brie layered with apricots and sliced almonds. Regulars also line up for specialty pastries from surrounding bakeries, including a group of Catholic nuns from Chicago who bring gorgeous baguettes and tarts. We also find locally harvested honey, the brightest and freshest locally grown produce, bedding plants, specialty teas, sea salts and varietals from nearby Butler Winery. But it's not all about food and drink. We love browsing the original art, rare books, handmade jewelry and other original items like frilly vintage-looking aprons, unique handbags, clothing, beads and more. And we wish we had brought our dull kitchen knives to be sharpened on the spot. More than just a collection of tents, this marketplace sits among a canopy of trees and moves to music by a rotating cast of live musicians. We love the crepes cooked on the spot, but before leaving, we stopped for jerk chicken, which we smelled from nearly a block away. There are a number of cool Chesterton stores nearby, too. Check out Red Cup Cafe for coffee, The Flower Cart for unusual gifts, and Whimsy and Indian Summer for one-of-a-kind clothes.