When you first walk into the Art Eatables store on Fourth Street the first thing you will notice is that it has as many Bourbon displays as chocolate displays. They don’t sell Bourbon in the store but there is a plethora of Bourbon bottles, Bourbon Books and literature and other Bourbon food products on display. There is plenty of chocolate and other candies on display but even those displays will have a Bourbon bottle as part of the presentation. It is quite impressive and very much conveys the feeling that the owner – Kelly Ramsey – loves Bourbon.
I first met Kelly at a meeting of The Bourbon Society in October 2012. She and her husband Forest were at the meeting and introduced themselves. I sat down and talked with them at the meeting and we have been friends ever since. I quickly learned to admire and respect Kelly and her talent as a chocolatier and a business woman who loves Bourbon. She started making Bourbon Truffles (Truffles, not Bourbon Balls. Remember that fact if you meet her) over 5 years ago. She started the business in her home and registered her company, Art Eatables, in January 2011. By September 2012 she had found a store front on Fourth Street near Theater Square and the Brown Hotel and moved her production there. The Grand Opening of the store was November 5th, 2012 and the business has grown every year since.
Kelly and Art Eatables have garnered many honors and awards since she opened. In 2013 she supplied chocolate truffles for the gift bags at the Oscars. In 2014 Art Eatables was a food finalist for a Martha Stewart award and the next year they were a runner up for a Southern Living food award. In October of 2015 the Food Network named Art Eatables the best candy shop in Kentucky. Kelly has much to be proud of in the short time she has been in business.
Kelly is one of my Unsung Heroes because she does a lot to promote Bourbon as well as sell chocolate. She is brand neutral in that pretty much every major Kentucky Distillery and many of the new craft distilleries have allowed her to use their product and their brand names in making truffles. Kelly prefers truffles to bourbon balls because she feels the Bourbon is not lost in the sweetness of the center and also allows the chocolate to better compliment the Bourbon and vice-versa. Kelly works hard to pick the perfect Bourbon and chocolate combination for her truffles. She knows her Bourbon as well she knows her chocolate. She is certified by the Stave and Thief program in Bourbon. She is also an official sponsor of the Kentucky Bourbon trail. Kelly takes her Bourbon as seriously as her chocolates.
When a customer walks into the store they are very likely to find her there. Kelly has several employees but she does like to come out and talk with customers when she can do so. Kelly is happy to go into details as to why she picked a certain chocolate for the truffle made with a particular Bourbon. The one thing she makes sure of is that you can taste the Bourbon in the truffle so be prepared. They can have a bit of a kick if you are not expecting it. Art Eatables does have non-alcoholic chocolates but they are at what the staff refers to as the “no fun” table. They are also a nut free product for those who have nut allergies.
Kelly is a promoter of all things Bourbon. She does so without fanfare or prejudice to brands or distillery. She has done much to promote Kentucky’s favorite spirit and deserve to be recognized for her efforts. That is why I think she is one of Bourbon’s unsung Heroes.