I’m envisioning chocolate. The display case at LaRue Fine Chocolate at Poe West is currently empty, as Elizabeth McDaniel’s new dessert café is not yet open to the public. So I’m resigned to dream of boxes of bonbons stacked on shelves just inside the entrance, and neat rows of individual truffles calling my name from inside the case. The cafe’s inviting bar and chocolate-brown walls adorned with a colorful mural of a cacao pod painted by Mary Barron, McDaniel’s mother-in-law, will be a welcome destination soon. McDaniel’s beloved, bespoke chocolates will be in full stock, as well as desserts such as the maître chocolatier’s chocolate mousse, crème brûlée, and homemade ice cream. McDaniel will also offer cakes and pies crafted by area pastry chefs.

Elizabeth has been fantasizing about this shop ever since she launched her chocolate business in 2015. “I want to take all the things I’ve been doing my entire life and mush them into one,” she says. These include working as a barista in Charleston, a wine rep in Greenville, and, of course, making her popular chocolates—which she will produce in her spacious on-site kitchen.

The menu of cocktails, liqueurs, and wines is designed to pair with—you guessed it!—chocolate. Having the shop will give more folks easy access to her sweets and allow her the freedom to make more and different types of truffles, as well as specialty items for holidays.

“I’ve always been drawn to jobs where I’m learning something all the time,” McDaniel notes of her new role, which requires her to be manager, mixologist, chef, and chocolatier. “This is perfect. It’s where I’m supposed to be.”

Photography by Rebecca Lehde and Paul Mehaffey. LaRue Fine Chocolate, 556 Perry Ave, Ste B115, Greenville. (864) 263-7083, laruefinechocolate.com