Memphis has a superman of chocolate: Phillip Ashley Rix, who left the corporate world to create lush, hand-made chocolates. Would that we all could have the guts to take that leap! Rix worked in sales and marketing at FedEx, UPS and Apple – honing his sales skills by day, and eventually his chocolate by night. And he’s pretty much self-taught as a chocolatier.
As Forrest Gump's mama predicted (sort of), you never know what you'll find in a box of Phillip Ashley Chocolates — Photo courtesy of Phillip Ashley Chocolates
Phillip Ashley Chocolates opened in 2013 in the historic Cooper Young neighborhood to rave reviews, and that’s no surprise, given the fact that the charming Rix has won a variety of awards for his choco-tastic creations, including being named as one of the "Best Chocolatiers and Confectioners in America" by TasteTV in 2013 and 2014.
He's a go-to for custom chocolates ordered by corporations, hotels and brides; vintners and distillers of fine spirits also turn to Rix for just the right treat to pair with their libations.
Rix pays a lot of attention to the chemistry of chocolate – he calls this chocistry – and to flavor profiles, as well. He draws his inspiration from a variety of places: his family, this town, the NBA’s Grizzlies and Southern foods.
His chocolate treats include BBQ sauce, sweet potato (the Mama Jean, named after his granny) and even chocolate-covered bacon. Don’t ask; just order it. You’ll thank us later.
The display case at Phillip Ashley Chocolates — Photo courtesy of Phillip Ashley Chocolates
Every tasty gem is handcrafted in small batches and hand-decorated, as well. The store is bright and light – part art gallery – and looks more like a jewelry store than a chocolate shop. Pieces are sold individually, by weight or in already packaged collections.
His chocolate offerings change weekly, but he has 150 flavors in the bag, so to speak. There are new flavors being created all the time, many for corporate clients, who turn to Rix to immortalize their businesses with a unique flavor profile that matches their company, vibe or industry.
The shop also offers private tastings for small groups, pairing his chocolates with flights of wine.
Rix is a big believer in pairing with other local businesses to support a variety of charitable causes, as well as supporting local and regional artists by providing his sweet morsels at their exhibition or show openings.
For example, he's opened a second mini-location inside the Playhouse on the Square, which is just a few blocks north of his shop in Overton Square. All of the proceeds from the sale of his confections during performances will benefit the playhouse.