I'm on a journey to explore the world of American craft chocolate

A Day in the Life of French Broad Chocolates

Recently Jael Rattigan, one half of the amazing French Broad Chocolates, took over my Instagram for a week, with some really gorgeous photos of the amazing bars, truffles, and baked goods that they offer at their cafe. If you're anything like me, you're probably not on all the social media channels (Periscope? Snapchat?), and so I want to share them here to make sure everyone gets an opportunity to enjoy them. Below each you'll see her description of the action in the photo. Read the original Chocolate Noise profile here!

Hi, y'all! We're Dan and Jael, coming at you from French Broad Chocolates in beautiful Asheville, NC. We're taking over Chocolate Noise's Instagram all week. What began 10 years ago as a new marriage and a farmers market stand, where we sold truffles and caramels using OPC (that's Other People's Chocolate), has grown to include a web store, a bustling dessert restaurant (French Broad Chocolate Lounge, est. 2008), a chocolate and coffee boutique (Chocolate+Milk, est. 2014), and a Chocolate Factory & Tasting Room (est. 2012), where we directly source cacao, roast, winnow, refine, and temper it into bean-to-bar chocolate. Phew, that run-on sentence is how my life feels.

Through our mountain town courses an ancient river, the French Broad. The water it carries is the same water that nourishes our cacao groves, thousands of miles away. The French Broad reminds us that we are all connected, and through our chocolate, we seek to honor that connection. This photo is from a cleanup we did of our namesake back in June!

Our bean-to-bar chocolate is transformed into our collection of chocolate bars. With our thoughtful, locally-crafted packaging, we hope to share the stories behind the chocolate we humbly offer: whether it's our own love story, a special relationship with a cacao farmer, or a brilliant local coffee roaster. There are so many hands involved in bringing you this beautiful chocolate, and we hope to honor their contributions by telling their stories.

Since 2013, all the chocolate we use in our pastries, ice cream, drinking chocolates and confections at the Chocolate Lounge is our own bean-to-bar chocolate. About 4-5,000 folks pass through the Chocolate Lounge in a busy week, and we are honored to share the story of chocolate with our guests, in a beautiful space that allows our community to come together and enjoy each other's company.

Before Asheville, Dan and I lived and worked in the cacao-rich rainforest of Costa Rica for two years. At the restaurant we opened, Bread and Chocolate, we were able to source local chocolate for our handmade desserts, sparking our passion for cacao and all things chocolate. We still have a little cacao farm of our own there, where we're able to get our hands dirty, and learn about the challenges of cacao cultivation firsthand. While its production is too small to provide a substantial source for us, we are working with other local farmers in the area to import Costa Rica cacao for our 80% bar. It's a pleasure to remain connected to this region, which will always hold a special place in our hearts. 

The flavors of cacao, paired with ingredients thoughtfully selected for their integrity, inspire us to create a compendium of confections, which we humbly serve to our patrons in Asheville and beyond. Holiday season is upon us, which means we'll soon be doing some serious trufflin' at our little factory. Maybe you'll think about sending some truffles, caramels or toffee to the chocolate lovers in your life? We ship using 100% biodegradable shipping materials, including corn-foam insulated coolers if the weather is warm.