You probably already realize this, but Memphis is a sweet place to live! Here’s something you might not know: our city boasts a host of innovative candy and chocolate makers who are working in creative ways and bringing positive recognition to the Bluff City. At StyleBlueprint Memphis, we feel it’s our duty to share this information with you. Sure, it’s a hard job tasting all of Memphis’ sweetest treats, but we toughed it out, and now we’re bringing you the lowdown.
A bonus? All these sweet treats make great gifts, or they’re great for stashing away to help you get through the hectic holidays. Heads up, though — it’s wise to order ahead during the holidays, if you have specific needs.
All right! Let’s get to the good stuff!!
Shotwell Candy Co.
Lawyer-turned-candyman Jerrod Smith created Shotwell Candy Co. in 2012, when his successful efforts to create a perfect gift for family and friends paid off. Shotwell is growing rapidly, having won awards from Southern Living, Martha Stewart and Garden & Gun. What sets Shotwell’s caramels apart is their perfect chewy texture and interesting flavor profiles. Original Salted Caramel is a favorite, and Craft Beer & Pretzel (made with local Ghost River beer) has a great creamy, crunchy texture. Old Fashioned, inspired by the cocktail, has an edge of orange and whiskey, and Five Spice Chocolate hits an exotic note. Shotwell recently added Tennessee Toffee to its lineup — rich, buttery toffee with add-ins like trail mix, crushed espresso beans or chocolate-covered pecans. The simple, stylish packaging makes Shotwell Candy a perfect, ready-made gift. Plus, this local creation is doing the 901 proud with lots of regional and national praise.
Phillip Ashley Chocolates
798 S. Cooper • (901) 207- 6259
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Phillip Ashley Rix loves chocolate. He turned that passion into a business when he left the corporate world and taught himself the art of the chocolatier, opening Phillip Ashley Chocolates in Cooper-Young in 2013. His creations are works of art, inside and out, and he offers a jewel-themed collection that’s perfectly named, with artful domes and squares of chocolate that encase creative fillings. The Memphis BBQ is a revelation — a smoky, sweet and salty concoction inspired by barbecue (national food journalists in town for a conference were blown away). Create your own Memphis collection with the Grizzness Bacon Caramel Shortbread truffle and chocolates made with Ghost River beer. Be adventurous and try chocolates with fillings of tequila and blood orange, strawberry caramel and Brie, Gorgonzola cheese, olive oil or lavender and Earl Grey tea … or try the chocolate-covered bacon. The sleek, black packaging makes Phillip Ashley Chocolates an exceptionally elegant gift, which can be purchased at the shop in Cooper-Young or online.
Dr. Francis Tylavsky has been making chocolate for years, but she turned her scientific mind to making them professionally in 2010, and thus was born Frantic Chocolates. Creative combinations make their way into filled chocolates and colorful barks. The Glogg Bark is a personal favorite, with nuts, dried berries and the spices of the traditional mulled wine drink. Creamy peanut butter cups are worlds away from the supermarket variety, rich and smooth with no artificial aftertaste. Pick up a few neatly packaged bags to keep on hand for last-minute gifts (or just treat yourself!).
Dinstuhl’s Fine Candies
436 Grove Park, Memphis • (901) 682-3373
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 12 to 5 p.m.
7730 Poplar Ave., Germantown • (901) 752-1110
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 12 to 5 p.m.
5280 Pleasant View Road, Memphis • (901) 377-2639
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Don’t overlook this classic. Dinstuhl’s started making and selling candy in 1902, and they really know their business. Seasonal chocolate-covered strawberries are a Memphis classic, anticipated each year as the berries come into season in the spring. Cashew brittle — rich, buttery toffee with cashews dusted in fine coconut — is the perennial bestseller, but I gravitate to the pecan brittle. Pick up a prepackaged gift or create your own selection from the display. Double chocolate figaros are a childhood favorite for me, and maple creams and chocolate honeycombs are worth a try, as well. Chocolate bars with Graceland and Elvis wrappers and guitar-shaped chocolates make a great Memphis-themed present. You’ll also find Southern classics, like divinity and pecan logs. Dinstuhl’s will create custom chocolates for weddings or large events.
For an international twist to the local candy scene, N’Cup Chocolate is making Brazilian brigadeiros right here in Memphis. Brigadeiros are chocolate-y, caramel-y truffles with a slightly chewy, but beautifully rich, texture, rolled in various toppings (traditionally chocolate sprinkles). N’Cup offers a host of flavors, including Better Together White and Milk Chocolate Truffles and versions rolled in various nuts or colorful sprinkles. Also available are small jars of chocolate spreads, in the realm of Nutella, in dark, milk, walnut and coconut flavors. The little jars of milk chocolate spread are a decadent treat to sock away for yourself or as an emergency dessert served with cookies. All the chocolates are attractively packaged for gift giving. N’Cup Chocolates treats are available to special order online, with local delivery available. Learn more online at ncupchocolate.com.
Wait, wait … there’s more! In a few weeks, look for part two of our Memphis sweet tooth series, with a rundown of great local bakeries.