Raise Your Glasses High!For fans of limoncello, a refreshing Italian liquor made from fermented lemons, you will be happy to hear that a South Philadelphia craftsperson, Joan Verratti, has perfected several cellos, including chocolate!

I was introduced to Joan Verratti by a mutual childhood friend. Joan began experimenting with limoncellos with friends on Daly Street in Philadelphia. Her first attempts were blueberry and strawberry flavored cellos. She said the first batches tasted like cough syrup; through laborious experimentation the correct flavors were achieved. Joan admits it took lots of research and development. She created 18 flavors of limoncello. Her cellos are all handcrafted, one batch at a time, from an Old Italian recipe which Joan improved for the American palate. It is not bitter, sour or tart; it is sweet and syrupy with a great leg. It is also high in alcohol content at 44-48% proof! The display bottles are beautiful, sleek frosted glass. Her partner and fiancé, Tom, designed the label himself.

Once Joan came up with this enticing product, she solicited the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) to sell her product; it began a five year process. As of February 1, 2012 she became the proud owner of Pollyodd Distillery, issued a micro distillery license—which is quite a distinction since there are only 67 in existence in the USA—and opened for operation on June 18, 2012. Joan also made history; she is the first female to have a distiller’s license in our country!

The PLCB informed Joan they would carry Pollyodd Lemon and Chocolate cellos in 25 of their stores and her cream cellos, like banana and pumpkin, will be carried in satellite stores on East Passyunk Avenue and Northern Liberties sections of Philadelphia. An average bottle costs $26-$28.

Joan offered great serving suggestions, including her version of a chocolate s’mores martini: First, rim a chilled martini glass with marshmallow Fluff, then dip the glass rim in crushed graham cracker, drizzle chocolate on the inside of the martini glass and finally, pour in your chocolate martini, of course using Pollyodd Chocolatecello! DECADENCE has been re-defined!!!