LaRue Fine Chocolate was started by Elizabeth Anne Logan McDaniel in 2015.
Making hand rolled truffles with her niece as a Christmas tradition became the inspiration for her company. Jessica’s father, Elizabeth’s brother, died in 1998 when Jessica was 7 years old. Elizabeth was looking for ways in which she could be active in her niece’s life. After a few years of failed candle making experiments and other crafty projects going awry they settled on chocolate…who doesn’t love chocolate, right? During this time Elizabeth was working as a fine wine representative for a distributor in the upstate of South Carolina. She started giving her chocolates to some of her customers as Christmas gifts. The feedback she received from chefs and restauranteurs sparked the idea that this could be more than just a hobby. Elizabeth’s husband, Sean, gave her a chocolate making course and the chocolate and confections textbook from The Culinary Institute of America one year for Christmas. In the fall of 2014, Elizabeth quit her job and hopped on a plane to Vancouver to take a Master Chocolatier course. She has received a Professional Chocolatier certificate with honors as well as achieving the rank of Maitre Chocolatier from Ecole Chocolat.
Since 2015 LaRue Fine Chocolate has built a strong base of loyal customers. The company has been featured in The Greenville News, Edible Upcountry, TOWN magazine, Talk, HuffPost, Forbes, and the Greenville Journal. The chocolates have been sold online, through wholesale outlets around the upstate, at events, and at the TD Saturday Market in downtown Greenville in the Spring and Fall.
LaRue Fine Chocolate-a chocolate bar opened at Poe West in the Village of West Greenville April 1, 2020 for curb-side pickup only and then was able to open at half capacity June 19, 2020. Guests are welcomed in to grab a “chef’s choice” box of chocolates to go, create their own chocolate box, or sit down in the café area to enjoy a glass of champagne and one of the many decadent desserts -think raspberry chocolate mousse, bourbon pecan pie, vanilla bean crème brulee, as well as a cheese board and charcuterie board. Elizabeth is a Certified Specialist of Wine and sometimes assists her husband with Homebrewing. She has created a small, but awesome wine, bubbles, beer, and cocktail list for the space. There are coffee drinks, teas, hot chocolate with her house made marshmallows, and creative non-alcoholic cocktails. Once this pandemic is truly over there will be “roll your own” chocolate making events, chocolate classes, and truffle and beverage pairing events.
The company is named after Elizabeth’s Mother, Dora LaRue Smith Logan. Dora was a badass-she served in the Army, was married to a Captain in the Marines, raised 4 boys and then gave birth to Elizabeth at almost 40. She was strong, kind, gentle, and full of love—not to mention one hell of a scrabble player. She died in 1996 and is greatly missed.
Elizabeth believes that what sets her chocolates apart from others is her curiosity. She has traveled to Mexico, Canada, Italy, Egypt, Germany, The Czech Republic, Chile, Thailand, Spain, France, and Belgium. In most of these places she has taken cooking classes and toured vineyards and wineries. She loves eating and drinking all the amazing flavors that other cultures have to offer. Her years spent in the wine industry gave her an understanding of flavor profiles and achieving balance on the palette. When you taste LaRue Fine Chocolate you experience all the layers of flavor and the love and effort that go into each of her creations. She hopes that every bite takes you on a journey, tells you a story, or simply puts a smile on your face.