the delicious dozen from french broad chocolates, in asheville, nc

11 Jun

Do you remember how one year ago, I expeditioned off to the Great American South, where I visited an abandoned playground, chilled out with sad hippies in a tree-fort hostel,  ran out of water in the Everglades (Runs Out Of Water should be my middle name), chased a snake in a forest that was dynamited, and, oh yeah, bought a heck of a lot of chocolate from the French Broad Chocolate Lounge in Asheville, North Carolina?

Many of you probably don’t remember, because you weren’t reading this blog at that time. So to recap, here are three of my favorite photos from the trip, illustrating key take-home points.

Seneca Rocks, West Virginia. Place of fog, rain, and beauty, we had a campground overlooking the area entirely to ourselves.

Sanibel Island, Florida. Place of much seashell collecting, I paused here for some self-reflection and a bit of Florida skyscraper skyline-hating, and I also lost a pair of earrings.

French Broad Chocolate Lounge, Asheville, NC. Place of chocolate. Obviously.

Okay, so that last picture isn’t really one of my favorites, but it is a segue into the focus of this post. I have recently learned that there are benefits to the Facebook that I so long eschewed. Benefits like winning a 12-piece set of delicious truffles and caramels from the French Broad Chocolate Lounge, and having it shipped speedily to your door in a giant box filled with biodegradable (and reusable) chill packs and foam packing material made from corn.

I would expect no less from the hip folk of Asheville.

  

I’ve talked about a fair number of delicious bonbons on this blog, from Black Dinah Chocolatiers in Maine, to B.T. McElrath in Minneapolis, to Dancing Lion in New Hampshire. And while I maintain that Dancing Lion has the most artistic and appealing creations to date, French Broad Chocolates is clearly on the road to greatness.

Established in 2007, many of their truffles are variations on a familiar theme. Lavender, maple, and strawberry balsamic are all repeat creations that can be found behind the counter of any respected chocolatier. But unlike many of the aforementioned respected chocolatiers, French Broad makes truly exceptional products, and in addition to standard fare has some exciting offerings: think pomegranate ginger (which sparkled in my mouth with bright red fruit notes), or fig & port, or one of their six fantastic salted caramels.

As a testament to the tastiness of their chocolate, I will go so far as to say that I really liked their white jasmine truffle, made with jasmine green tea and local wildflower honey – it’s not everyday that I meet a white chocolate I like. In fact, it’s everyday that I spend my time dissing white chocolate.

And while I also enjoyed the fresh raspberry (dusted with pretty pink powdered raspberry), vanilla bourbon (made with vanilla beans and Knob Creek bourbon, it was one of the better liqueur-based ganaches I’ve tried), and indian kulfi (comprised of rose, pistachio and cardamon flavors), my heart belonged to the salted caramels.

The lavender honey caramel was made with local lavender and honey, and was sprinkled with lavender salt. The cashew honey caramel came with – spoiler alert – toasted organic cashews. And the bonbon that stole the show was the seductive sorghum caramel, a milk chocolate dome filled with sorghum molasses-based caramel: it was dark, rich, nutty, and incredibly enticing.

The bonbons from French Broad Chocolates were well-made. None of the truffles I tried had ganache that pulled away from the outer shell. None of the coatings were dry or crumbly, and none of the caramels had hardened or become difficult to eat. Thank you to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge, for teaching me the delicious lesson that your shop is about much more than the craft chocolate bars you stock out front.

French Broad Chocolate Lounge

10 S Lexington Ave
Asheville, NC

Hours
Sunday-Thursday 11h00-23h00
Friday-Saturday 11h00-24h00

And coming soon….

French Broad Chocolate Factory & Tasting Room

21 Buxton Ave
Asheville, NC

Grand opening on Friday June 29th from 11h00-17h00. I wish I could be there…

20 Responses to “the delicious dozen from french broad chocolates, in asheville, nc”

  1. Martha 2012/06/11 at 14:24 #

    Ohhh! Emma scores again for her deep revere and dedication to the world of chocolate. Those are some beautiful truffles, and I’m glad you are expanding your horizons to include truffles and even-omg-white chocolate! Wish I were there to help you “sample.”

    • emma 2012/06/11 at 15:31 #

      Oh, I wish you were here too Martha! Of course then we would be dividing each bonbon into three, rather than two:) Totally doable, although it would sure leave us wishing for more.

      I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed the white chocolate – it was the surprise of the month!

  2. sarah 2012/06/11 at 16:18 #

    These look gorgeous. It has nothing to do with your post, but I really like the chocolates against the blue color.

    • emma 2012/06/11 at 16:25 #

      I do too:) I enjoyed the color contrast so much when I did my Dancing Lion post, that I thought I’d repeat the idea with photos on the blue table again here. Maybe it will become my truffle table?

  3. Mum 2012/06/11 at 16:23 #

    My, goodness, how lucky are you!! And, what did you do, sit down and eat them one after the other? Amazing fun, and the flavors all sound scrumptious!

    • emma 2012/06/11 at 16:27 #

      I am 90% lucky.

      No, we were averaging two or three a day, but it was definitely tough to hold back from eating them all at once. We actually have a few left; I’m sure we’ll take those down this afternoon, though!

  4. Zen 2012/06/11 at 17:38 #

    Oh my goodness. Those look amazing. And so many delightful flavours too!

    • emma 2012/06/11 at 20:25 #

      And so many more that I wish I could try! Still, a 12-piece box was definitely more than generous:)

  5. Alayna @ Thyme Bombe 2012/06/11 at 18:15 #

    Wow, every single one of those sounds so good. Definitely intrigued by the sorghum caramel and the white jasmine truffle. If I ever find myself in Asheville I’ll have to pick up a box.

    • emma 2012/06/11 at 20:27 #

      They really excel at their caramels; I appreciate that they make several kinds, so as to compare caramels of different sweetness, darkness, etc.

      They make their own chocolate bars as well – that’s something I still have to try. I hope you make it to Asheville, but know that these are also all available for purchase on their website;)

  6. El 2012/06/11 at 23:02 #

    It looks like a wonderful place and the chocolates look sensational.

    • emma 2012/06/12 at 08:15 #

      It was a wonderful place, how I’d love to go back. Everywhere down south just seems like this teeming-with-life jungle to me:) Good chocolates, too.

  7. Hannah 2012/06/13 at 06:28 #

    Is that your summer hat? ;)

    You know I’m not a big truffle person, but I would happily call dibs on all of those caramel baubles!

    • emma 2012/06/13 at 06:46 #

      That is my summer sun hat! Not my winter one, which I haven’t had a need for this week, thank goodness.

      I know truffles ain’t your thing, and I’m not huge on them either, but I respect a good ganache now and then. Especially when they’re free of charge:D

      Bauble!

  8. thyme (Sarah) 2012/06/14 at 08:20 #

    Half of us out here would just pop one of those beauties right into our mouths. I just love your assessment of each and every one. I will never quickly eat a truffle again. And…that first photo…..swoon…so gorgeous.

    • emma 2012/06/14 at 10:42 #

      Heh:) I figured that they took the time to send me such a nice package, so I might as well take my time eating it!

      Oh.o. and if you ever eat a truffle quickly again…. I’ll know! Just kidding;)

  9. leaf (the indolent cook) 2012/06/14 at 10:18 #

    Oh my word these chocolates sound AMAZING. I want them. All of them. North Carolina, you say? Hmm… a bit far, but one day, maybe…

    • emma 2012/06/14 at 10:46 #

      Well, I don’t know if they ship as far as across the ocean to you, but maybe! They are quite fantastic – I love that they embody a locavore concept with their ingredients:)

  10. shannon 2012/06/18 at 23:20 #

    Emma, i love this post. First, you are slowly but steadily winning my heart over to maybe learning more about/appreciating fancy chocolate, in general. my mouth is literally watering reading your descriptions of each of these, and i’m not even a) hungry or b) in the mood for chocolate. and yet, i want to learn more.
    also, there’s something about the american south that i want to know more about. florida is old-hat to me, because we’ve been going there for so long it seems like no big thing (sanibel was where we used to go every summer when i was little), but the “southern” south, like georgia, alabama, mississippi, etc? i want to explore them sometime. and side note: i love photos of abandoned stuff, abandoned playgrounds being one of my favorite things to come across/photograph.
    now, i will need you to send me that box of truffles. :)

    • emma 2012/06/19 at 07:47 #

      Ah, I’m glad to learn that you are open to fine chocolate appreciation! I love hearing that my chocolate ravings motivate fine folk such as yourself to experiment with fancy schmancy chocolate on their own;)

      I feel the same way about the South. I had such a good time last summer driving through the southern Appalachians. As scared as I am of snakes and poisonous plants, everything was so fresh and new and beautiful that I couldn’t help but fall in love with the region. It just seems so purely jungle-y down there, so alive. So different from up here.

      I’m glad to find a friend in the photographing of abandoned buildings and playgrounds business:) Sorry, though, the truffles are gone!

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