On Tuesday (May 2), National Truffle Day will be upon us, and a new offering from an expert chocolatier in collaboration with “The Champagne Of Beers” will add to the celebration. Phillip Ashley, “The Real Life Willy Wonka” connected with Miller High Life for an exclusive drop of truffles that takes the bar snack concept to elevated heights.
While we couldn’t precisely locate the history of National Truffle Day, National Day Calendar had this to say about the invention of the truffle:
N. Petruccelli of Chambery, France is believed to be the inventor of the chocolate truffle in December 1895. Truffles became much more prevalent in 1902 after the Prestat Chocolate Shop opened in London. In fact, Prestat still sells “Napoleon III” truffles made to the original recipe.
Ahead of National Truffle Day, CASSIUS had the good fortune of speaking with Phillip Ashley to talk about his background, the wide world of confectionary treats, and working with Miller High Life on their new collaboration. The Memphis native opened up our conversation about how he got into the chocolate world.
“People are always surprised when I say I’m from Memphis considering the stuff I do, they tend to think Los Angeles, D.C., and Atlanta even,” Mr. Ashley shared. “But being in Memphis gave me a good education on food and culture. It’s surprisingly diverse. It’s a hodgepodge of culture. We’re more than just barbecue.”
“My grandparents, parents, and family at large made sure I had exposure to a lot of different cuisines and cultures, and I also played sports. Growing up in the 1980s, you did more with your hands and using your imagination. All of those things came together, just like mixing a ganache or making a truffle, and that brought me to this space,” he added.
The former chemistry major had dreams of medical school but entered the world of corporate America en route to his current role as chef extraordinaire. Using his wide scope of experience, Ashley referred to his journey as the “breadcrumbs” that led him into becoming a chocolatier in 2007.
Ashley and Miller High Life’s partnership is a relatively new one, having just joined forces near the top of the year. Ashley shared some of the inner workings that led to the new bar snacks-inspired collection of sweets.
“Miller High Life reached out to me and said they had a crazy idea. The company wanted me to construct treats inspired by light bar snacks to specifically pair with “The Champagne Of Beers” and it just so happens I love having a grilled cheese with Miller High Life, and I love this kind of challenge anyway. I was given the green light to think out of the box and that inspired the chocolates going on sale on National Truffle Day,” Ashley explained.
The savory nature of bar snacks in chocolates isn’t a new concept and it was a challenge Ashley was more than ready for.
“It was a quick turnaround because I’ve spent thousands of hours over the past 15 years studying up on new ingredients and techniques but a lot of it is rooted in the traditional kitchen,” Ashley said. “I understand the science and the essential foundation for chocolate making so when Miller High Life made the call, I was more than prepared to answer.”
In closing, the charming chocolatier expressed that while this collection of chocolates will be a limited-edition run, chocolate lovers should expect great things from Philip Ashley in the years to come.
The collection, which is a limited-edition run launching on National Truffle Day, features six familiar flavors that will list out below.
Grilled Cheese – My favorite to pair with a smooth High Life! Decadent triple cream cheese white chocolate ganache in a blond chocolate shell. A toasted toast to the everyday celebrations like a perfect cheese pull enjoyed on a bar stool
Lemon Pepper Chicken Wing – An innovative fried chicken ganache infused with lemon pepper seasoning. A lemon, pepper twist on your average chicken wing (and with less grease on your High Life bottle).
Pretzel Praline – Salted pretzel and roasted pecans combined with handcrafted caramel and blonde chocolate to make the ultimate sweet and salty bite. Sweet, salty and timeless, just like the pretzel bag you enjoyed at the jukebox.
Beernut – Freshly roasted peanuts soaked in the Champagne of Beers then ground into our fragrant beernut butter and enrobed in a milk chocolate shell.
Buttery Popcorn – White chocolate ganache infused with movie theatre style popcorn. An ode to the buttery, salty goodness of the popcorn machine at your favorite local dive.
Sweet Potato Fry – Garnett sweet potato mash blended with blonde chocolate for a sweet and savory bon bon.
To purchase your own set of Philip Ashely and Miller High Life designer chocolates, please click here. Don’t forget the beer, which you can learn more about here.
Check out Philip Ashely’s Instagram page here.
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