Breakfast at Phillip Ashley’s

Posted on February 28, 2014

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By Marlena Jones

pasted_image_848x563Looking out from my car at the facade of Phillip Ashley’s, I’m not quite sure what to expect from this chocolatier who has earned a reputation for creating unique designer chocolates. Sure, everyone has heard of designer shoes, designer bags, but designer chocolate? I was skeptical at first. But walking into his store, I’m met with chocolates so intricately cut and beautifully designed they look as if they belong in a jewelry store – so naturally his chocolates are displayed in jewelry cases.

The boutique’s chef, native Memphian Phillip Ashley Rix, specializes in handmade chocolate truffles, both milk and dark chocolate. He makes anywhere from five to twenty batches a day depending on demand, and usually has about six or seven events a month, including private tastings. Chef Rix notes, “I believe that every chocolate should tell a story.” He tells that story by combining a wide range of ingredients to forge the flavors that distinguish his chocolates from others’. I had to indulge myself, picking four that stood out to me based on either personal taste or pure curiosity; Lotus Flower Bomb – raspberry jam, peppermint, and earl grey tea; Tennessee Coffee – Tennessee whiskey and coffee; Savoy – St. Angur French Bleu Cheese; and the obvious choice, Memphis, filled with BBQ flavoring. Surprisingly, the Savoy and the Memphis were my favorites, despite their peculiar nature as chocolate ingredients.

Chef Rix’s chocolate does run on the slightly pricey side – my four truffles were roughly $13. However, I observed that that clearly hasn’t discouraged the Midtown community from venturing into his boutique. While admiring the artwork lining the walls, one woman comes in on a whim and randomly selects around $25 worth of truffles. Shortly after a couple follows suit, and the wife instructs “get two of each so we don’t have to fight over them.”

Phillip Ashley’s also boasts art from local artists, currently showing the work of Yancy Villa-Calvo on the back wall. Villa-Calvo will have an exhibit in the boutique in March, and then the artwork will change to that of a different local artist. Permanently adorning the other walls are works from Kris Keys, a local fashion illustrator who created the pieces specifically for Phillip Ashley Chocolates.

Chef Rix is now an award-winning chocolatier after stepping away from more than a decade in the corporate sales and marketing worlds of FedEx and Apple. Rix spent five years training in everything to do with artisan chocolate making, the science of taste, and the knowledge of ingredients, all leading up to the launch of Phillip Ashley Chocolates in November of 2012. Within months, he was named one of America’s Best Confectioners and Chocolatiers in January of 2013 by TasteTV.

Visit Phillip Ashley Chocolates:
798 South Cooper St.
Memphis, TN, 38104

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Posted in: Arts