You'll often see long lines out the front door of the French Broad Chocolate Lounge on weekends. And it's worth the wait... a chocolate lover's dream. Their delcious variety of hand-crafted artisan chocolates and pastries features superb local and organic ingredients. It's a great spot for dessert after dinner at a nearby downtown restaurant since they are open late. Sip a glass of wine paired with your chocolate. Or see how perfectly a creamy stout pairs with vanilla ice cream and their dark, dense cacao nib brownie.
Savor a liquid truffle, their signature hot sipping chocolate with flavors like Indian Kulfi, Masala Chai, Cayenne & Cinnamon and pure dark chocolate. Cakes include the quintessential chocolate, highland mocha stout, vanilla, unadulterated carrot, chocolate truffle torte and the theros olive oil chocolate cake.
Chocolate + Milk is their chocolate, ice cream, and coffee boutique, located next door. The entrance is just down the block from the Lounge. The sweet secret is that often you can skip the long lines at the lounge and pick-up truffles, ice cream, coffee to-go and chcolates here. Both are located on the park in the middle of downtown, at at 10 S. Pack Square.
French Broad Chocolates Factory & Tasting Room
(Update: Factory will relocate in October 2018 to Ramp Studios at 821 Riverside Drive, Asheville - Final tour at South Slope location will be Sept 22)
A short drive away in the South Slope District, go to their chocolate factory to see their bean-to-bar process and sample their chocolate bars. Creators Dan and Jael Rattigan use fair trade cacao (cocoa) from Peru to create chocolate for their line of chocolate bars as well as creations at the Lounge. During a factory tour, learn about their craft chocolate-making. Watch them sort the beans fresh from a Peruvian farm, roast them via the sun's energy and then grind, temper and mold them into bars. They created and/or customized much of the equipment.
Dan and Jael go on sourcing expeditions and import all of their cacao from Peru and work together with small producers to access better raw materials. Right now, they are using Chulucanas, Morropon and Cepicafe cacao. They are even using organic Panela, a delicious whole, unrefined brown sugar. They are making history by creating a chocolate bar using cacao and sugar all produced in the province of Piura, Peru.
The French Broad Chocolates Factory & Tasting Room is located at 21 Buxton Avenue near downtown Asheville. They are open daily, 12 Noon until 6 PM. Take a free one-hour guided tour on Saturday at 11 AM. Reservations are required, call 828-505-4996. You can sample chocolates in the shop anytime.
These are just two of the stops on our Downtown Asheville Chocolate Tour.