Once upon a time, Big Apple delis named their sandwiches after famous actors. That custom is getting an update at Lilly Handmade Chocolates, the pretty Tremont sweetshop recently launched by chefs Amanda and Joshua Montague.
In this case, that means naming gourmet chocolates in honor of favorite local chefs. Thus, thanks to the Montagues, you can now bite into a handmade Mike (Symon) — a plush, milk-chocolate truffle, piqued with maple syrup, sea salt, and Nueske's bacon; spend an evening nibbling on a box of Roccos (Whalen) — robust dark-chocolate truffles, supercharged with pure black-truffle honey; or even scarf down a handful of Heathers (Haviland) — dark-chocolate ganache, goosed with cayenne peppers.
"Heather's a spicy gal!" laughs chocolatier Amanda Montague, who, with her bright pink tresses, seems a little fiery herself. It's a sweet tribute to her neighbor at nearby Lucky's Café — and one can only wonder when other local chefs will start chafing to get their own piece of chocolate immortality.
A graduate of Johnson & Wales' culinary program, Amanda launched her biz after mastering the craft at home, to the obvious delight of family and friends; today, she's often assisted in her work by hubby Joshua, the executive chef at the nearby Tremont Tap House.
Of course, the chef-named sweets are only a fraction of Lilly's 19 varieties of handcrafted truffles. Other options include the signature Lilly, a white-chocolate confection with overtones of roses, marigolds, apples, and lemongrass; the Southern Gentleman, with Maker's Mark and pecans; and the Ruby, with red-raspberry purée. And more varieties are on the way, including a line of buttery caramels.
Made fresh daily, without artificial additives, flavorings, or preservatives, the chocolates are sinfully rich yet deliciously pure-tasting. A box of six pieces goes for $11, a dozen for $22, or 15 for $27.
Lilly Handmade Chocolates is at 761 Starkweather Avenue, 216-771-3333, www.lillytremont.com. Hours are noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, noon to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. The shop is closed Mondays.