Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Eli's Cheesecake: a holiday tradition

Marc Schulman, Eli's president since 1984, shows guests through Eli's Cheesecake World.

     You know the holiday season is upon us in earnest when the Art Institute's proud lions are wreathed in greenery, the air is filled with festive music, and Eli's Cheesecake ads go up on everygoddamnday.com. 
     To mark the occasion, the family headed over to Eli's Cheesecake World on Saturday to get a quick tour from its owner, Eli Schulman, who took the family around his expanded factory — business is booming — before we settled in to coffee, conversation and, of course, cheesecake.
Passion fruit curd olive oil cake cheesecake
    The challenge being, if presented with the delightful dilemma of being invited to dig into literally any type of cheesecake that Eli's makes, from chocolate chip to key lime, apple streusel to blueberry swirl, peppermint bark and salted caramel, which one to choose? You can browse the available flavors at the Eli's website.
     As difficult as that sounds, it was actually an easy decision: passion fruit curd olive oil cake cheesecake made with mascarpone mousse, inspired by Natasha Pickowicz's "More than Cake" cookbook — because really, how often do you get the chance? (Who is Natasha Pickowicz, you ask? For shame! She is only the wildly popular "NYC pastry wunderkind" and "The Queen of Sticky Buns." Okay, I had to look her up, but I was glad to get to know her — eating cheesecake and learning about the new generation of rising pastry chefs)
    So how did her cheesecake taste? Smooth. Sublime. Lovely. Light. I usually like my cheesecake with a heavy dose of chocolate crumbled over it. But this was obviously something more advanced. My wife raved.
     I also learned the meaning of "POG" — it stands for "Passion Fruit Orange Guava" and was the flavor of one cheesecake we took away with us — at Eli's Cheesecake World's store you can get all sorts of exotic flavors, unavailable to the masses who have not made pilgrimage to the mothership.  I think otherwise you have to be flying First Class on United to Hawaii to be given the privilege of trying the POG cheesecake, which was extraordinary. As was the Tiramisu Cheesecake, which was the other. I'd have gone home with more — I have my sights set on the Hot Chocolate Cheesecake, which sounds heavenly. But I limit myself to three cheesecakes at a time in the freezer. Restraint.   
     So welcome the traditional holiday cheesecake ad, which you will notice on the left side of the EGD homepage. Click it, and you'll be ushered into the world of gustatory delight that is Eli's. Today is Giving Tuesday, and while I hope you are digging deep to help those less fortunate than yourself, I'd also advise you to remember yourself, and your cheesecake needs — doctors say that the average American only consumes 25 percent of their daily metabolic requirements for cheesecake. 
     Oh, that's a lie. While cheesecake is good, and nutritious, there isn't an actually FDA requirement for it, though imagining how delightful a world it would be if there were. Even though a certain tone of fabrication infects social media, more and more, we try to play it by the book here on EGD, which is why we hope you'll support us by giving yourself the gift of cheesecake.
     Let me take this opportunity to say how glad I am that EGD, now in its 11th year, has been supported by Eli's Cheesecake for every second of its existence. Many, if not most, Chicagoans love Eli's Cheesecake. But how many can truly say they are loved back? Enfolded in the cool, sweet embrace of the nation's foremost cheesecake.  It's a wonderful thing, and I consider myself blessed that the holidays have rolled around again, bringing light, laughter, family, friends and lots of Eli's cheesecake. And that's the delicious truth.



  1. Eli's cheesecake is so incredibly good that people love it regardless of their position on any other issue. I envy someone who will have their first taste this holiday season.

  2. Exotic flavors not found in the stores? Very good to know. Thanks, Neil (and thanks, Marc).

  3. Well thank goodness for the gullible you clarified that FDA point. Somebody could have entertained thoughts of suing you!

    1. Still no argument that it hits at least three major food groups.

  4. That is certainly a different flavor but sounds delicious.

  5. Do they have sticky toffee pudding cheesecake because that would be amazing?!

  6. Should you talk to anyone at Eli's again, please ask them to do an Amaretto cheesecake again. Sublime! And, I second sticky toffee pudding.

  7. Love the photographs that our ingenious proprietor bedecks the thousand words that follow and compete for our attention. I don't know how it's done: today, you can see several blocks of Michigan Avenue and yet are able to pick out at least a dozen individuals, including the stoic lions, and guess their attitudes and thoughts.



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