Blog » French Broad Chocolate Factory and Tasting Room
Our area is home to some amazing and inspiring entrepreneurs, and I recently had the opportunity to explore the innovations of a husband and wife team with a product that is very close to my heart….or stomach — CHOCOLATE! Jael and Dan Rattigan celebrated the grand opening of the French Broad Chocolate Factory and Tasting Room on Friday, June 29th.
Already enjoying the successes of the immensely popular (and delicious!) French Broad Chocolate Lounge in Downtown Asheville, the Rattigans have set out to tackle the bean-to-bar manufacturing process in their new venture. Their locally made chocolates will be available through wholesale distribution, as well as gracing the taste buds of customers sampling the sinfully good treats offered at the Lounge. The nibs (the center of the bean used in making chocolate) and the shells are also available for culinary and brewing endeavors — and are already being used by French Broad and Green Man breweries in Asheville.
Part of the philosophy behind the bean-to-bar approach is the relationship with the farms that supply the raw cocoa beans. Jael and Dan even own their own cacao farm in Costa Rica that will soon be contributing to their chocolates, along with the cocoa beans that they purchase cooperatively with two other state-side chocolatiers. The beans are imported to the Chocolate Factory and Tasting Room and are then roasted on site. Sustainability is a key component to their process, and they have gone so far as to design and build a parabolic trough solar cacao roaster — the only cacao roaster of its kind — that sits on a rooftop deck of the new manufacturing facility.
In addition to the manufacturing aspect of their new venture, there will also be a Tasting Room and tours. As I enjoyed sampling several of their options at their Grand Opening, I was surprised and delighted by the subtle differences of flavors in the varying beans used. The French Broad Chocolate Factory and Tasting Room is now open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. — with tours starting this week.
As Jael and Dan have proudly described, “Our dream of a sustainable, bean-to-bar chocolate factory has been made a reality. We source, import, sort, crack, winnow, roast, grind, and mold our own chocolate here in Asheville, North Carolina.”
It makes my heart soar to see people follow their dreams, and I believe that innovation and hard work are the keys to economic success. I will always enthusiastically support local entrepreneurs in their endeavors — especially when I can look forward to chocolate samplings! I will certainly be following the success of French Broad Chocolates, and encourage YOU to support our new local chocolate factory.
French Broad Chocolate Factory and Tasting Room is located at 21 Buxton Avenue in Asheville — right next door to Green Man Brewing. The French Broad Chocolate Lounge is located at 10 South Lexington Avenue in Downtown Asheville. The Lounge is open Sunday–Thursday from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. until 12 a.m.