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The Four Best Pickled Foods in Chicago

Giardiniera from Central Pickling
Giardiniera from Central Pickling Photo: Jeff Marini

1 Pickled watermelon rinds at Vie

Chef Paul Virant wrote the book on pickling (literally — it’s called The Preservation Kitchen), so it’s no surprise that these fresh-tasting and snappy slivers, which he arrays atop (what else?) foie gras, are the stuff of vinegary dreams. Part of the $35 foie gras appetizer. 4471 Lawn Ave., Western Springs

2 Pickled plums at Kumiko

Petal-like sheets of barely tart plums, meant to adhere to your short rib slices with a dollop of mayo, lend brightness to what would otherwise be a cloyingly rich bite. Part of the $28 short rib appetizer. 630 W. Lake St., West Loop

3 Garlic dill spears from Full Belly Pickles

Have you ever eaten an entire jar of tart, crisp cukes swimming in mustard seeds and dill fronds in one sitting? Would you like to try? $8 for a 24-ounce jar. fullbellypickles.com

4 Giardiniera from Central Pickling

This husband-and-wife team do all their ultrafine vegetable dicing by hand — and they’re not afraid of a little (well, a lot of) heat. $8 for a 20-ounce jar. centralpickling.com

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