As mentioned in Beyond BBQ, Memphis is soulful and gritty city, peppered with Southern grace — and with traditions, recipes, and ingredients that make our region unique. In the land of great pie — chess, sweet potato, pecan, summer berry, peach, and chocolate fried — sweet is nearly its own food group. The plentiful ingredients of the area — nuts, fruits, bread, sorghum syrup, rice — find their way into cobblers, cakes, cookies, and ice cream, just as the do in any other locale.

But sometimes even the most earnest fruit pie cannot compete with a bite of rich, hand-crafted chocolate.

Phillip Ashley Rix has made something sweet into works of art. From his eponymous boutique chocolate shop in Midtown Memphis, Phillip crafts gorgeous truffle gems — with a definitive Memphis slant.

Start with the Mama Jean. The dark chocolate heart is filled with a locally grown sweet potato ganache. Crafted to honor his grandmother, a sweet potato truffle isn’t likely to be found anywhere else. The chocolates are a taste of Memphis, but also stand on their own as expertly crafted pairings of the weird, but wonderful.

The award-winning chocolates include

  • the Memphis — a barbecue truffle
  • Sweet Nothings — sweet corn and basil
  • Wicked — with local Black Magic stout and green apple caramel
  • the Spiced Pumpkin — with Prichard’s spiced rum and pumpkin pecan butter.

But don’t stop there. There are nearly 60 designer chocolates and caramels to adventure through. And Phillip creates new combinations every week or so.

Phillip is self taught and meticulous, and it shows in the sweets. His truffles are part art and part chemistry. With vibrant dustings, coatings, and sprays, it seems a shame to destroy the tiny works of artistic expression, but don’t let it stop you. Phillip will make more.

Memphis is home to an incredible amount of artisan sweets, caramels, macaroons, and candies. Each has its own flair and originality worthy as a classy gift, a show-stopping party spread, or heck, a treat for yourself.