I just met Lilly, aka Amanda Montague, Cleveland’s own Cocoa Queen, the Czarina of Confectionary, the Duchess of Decadent Delights. And she has hot pink hair. It matches the walls of her new Tremont shop on Starkweather, where she sells her own handmade chocolates. The place is without a doubt, a grown-up Candy Land. That’s because Mis Lil likes to spike her sweet creations with spirits and adult flavors. There’s the Redhead made with vintage port and dark chocolate; the Southern Gentleman that pairs Makers Mark bourbon with buttered pecans and milk chocolate; and a little oh-my-god good round of dark chocolate filled with cherries soaked in kirsch brandy she calls BoozieSuzies. “I’m not shy,” she tells me, “and neither is my chocolate.” She also stocks a selection of wine, beer, and bubbly that complement it.
The self taught chocolatier uses espresso ganache in a confection she christened Breakfast (I love the concept of a start the day chocolate); black mission figs in the Chomp Monster, and masala chai tea in the Raja. The girl has a way with words as well as roasted hazelnuts and caramel. How can you not want a treat called Sweet Cheeks? A real neighborhood booster she's named some things after local culinary achievers: the Rocco, for Fahrenheit’s big man, features black truffle infused honey; the Heather, in honor of her neighbor next door at Lucky’s Café, is spiked with cayenne; and the Mike, a Symon spectacular that combines milk chocolate and bacon. Her stuff is pretty too, coated with gold specks and lavender dust, or topped with colorful designs and intricate transfer patterns.
I spent five minutes with the woman and realized she’s got a seriously playful streak. So I wasn’t surprised when Lilly told me she’s hosting a reservations only Pajama Party at the store this Saturday, Aug 30, from7:30-9:30 pm. Appropriate dress required if you want to attend and sample her version Rolos, Poprocks, and Chunkies.
761 Starkweather, 216.771.3333 www.lillytremont.com
*Cleveland Magazine food writer Laura Taxel blogs here every Wednesday.