Made In Chicago: Rare Bird Preserves

Bernie Tafoya
October 01, 2018 - 7:28 am

WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- 'Make Fancy Toast,' it’s the new logo for Rare Bird Preserves, which are Made in Chicago.

Elizabeth Madden owns Rare Bird Preserves and said, “the strawberry rhubarb is a classic flavor pairing. A lot of people will eat it and say, ‘this reminds me of my grandmother’s pie’ and that’s just such the biggest compliment.”

Madden said she went to the French pastry school in Chicago and did jams for one day. 

“That was my ‘aha’ moment,” she said.

She said she loved making ice creams and cakes, but was “blown away by the beauty and simplicity of jam.”

The company has been around for 10 years. Madden first sold her preserves at farmers’ markets. She said it was a great way to test products, meet people and get immediate feedback and what flavors they were drawn to.

Now, she has a shop in Oak Park and sells online and at stores in 10 states.

“I also have a lot of customers who confess to me that they just eat it out of a jar with a spoon. I’m like, mix it with some yogurt. Put it on toast. It’s super good," she said.

WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya

Madden likes to think of her flavors as modern and unique, such as fig with Earl Grey tea, peach with lavender and a new curd that’s coconut with yuzu, which is a Japanese citrus.

Rare Bird Preserves also sells items such as scone mixes, cookbooks, and other home goods.

WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya

“We are definitely a gift item so we will be very busy around the holidays coming up. I think this will be a great location where I can teach classes. I can have pop-ups and we do scones and pastries for people on Saturdays,” she said.

As for the name, Rare Bird Preserves, Madden said, “it was a nickname that my grandmother gave me when I was little. She always called me, Rare Bird, so when I decided to name the business, it was really a nod to her.”