Chocolate creations from Chocolate F/X in East Nashville
A chocolatier finds her golden ticket in artful confections.
Written By: Kristin Luna
Photographers: Ron Manville
Chocolate F/X is not your average candy store. Walk into the small East Nashville establishment—part open kitchen, part storefront—and you’ll find Andrea Smith whipping up a wide range of offerings, from a trio of Star Wars characters’ heads to a custom-made, two-foot-long coffin brimming with truffles. Even her “simpler” creations aren’t that simple: Toffees are made with bacon from Porter Road Butcher, cordial cherries are filled with Corsair rum, and ghost pepper caramels are so spicy, they’re reserved for the most adventurous of patrons.
But the intricacy that goes into each of Smith’s confections isn’t all that surprising given her theatrical background. She studied makeup and special effects at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh before moving to Atlanta, where she lived for more than a decade. She learned mold-making, airbrush work, and “lots of artistic things” while apprenticing at a special effects studio; on the side, she soaked up the inner workings of the hospitality industry through gigs as a bartender and restaurant manager.
Eventually, Smith quit both lines of work to pursue chocolate-making full time, a passion that was born out of curiosity: Upon ordering a box of chocolates with anchors painted on them, she realized the artistic potential of the craft.
“I started thinking about the different things I could do with [chocolate]—a ship or a rose or a Day of the Dead skull—and just sort of dove in,’” she recalls.
After three years working for a confection company in Atlanta, Smith launched her one-woman show, Chocolate F/X (pronounced “effects”), in 2010 as a mobile operation—filling custom orders and selling her goods at comic book festivals and sci-fi conventions around the country—before opening a storefront at the Shoppes on Fatherland last April. Nashville was a novelty to her, but she thought it offered the “small big-city” feel she sought while also providing the opportunity to grow in a market not oversaturated with candy makers.
“The reception here has been really great,” she says. “It’s been an overwhelming, amazing start and a big welcome from the community. I’m hoping to expand a little bit [in 2015], work with more chefs, enter more chocolate competitions, and just really focus on the craft.”
While fan favorites such as the bananas foster chocolate with a ganache center stay on the menu year-round, many items change seasonally. Summer specialties might include pineapple jalapeño or the “beehive” (lavender-infused honey, peanut butter, and dark chocolate), while winter features flavors like peppermint, gingerbread, and pumpkin. But one thing’s always consistent: A whole lot of thought and artistry goes into crafting every last piece.
1006 Fatherland St., No. 306A, 404-402-6562; chocolatefx.net