French Broad Chocolate Lounge — Asheville If you’ve ever visited downtown Asheville on a summer day, you’ve likely seen this downtown shop’s line for homemade ice cream, which often trails
If you’ve ever visited downtown Asheville on a summer day, you’ve likely seen this downtown shop’s line for homemade ice cream, which often trails down the street. Stop in for sipping chocolates, cakes, cookies, chocolate mousse, and bars — and beautiful handcrafted bonbons in one-of-a-kind flavors that celebrate Asheville and all of its surrounding farmers and producers. Think strawberry balsamic, sorghum caramel, and lavender and honey.
There are chocolate rounds, chocolate frogs, crunch bars, dark chocolate crystallized ginger, coconut domes, and much more. But first, head for the truffles. In February, you can buy your assortment in a red, heart-shaped box.
Before starting her online shop selling exquisite, sophisticated chocolate bonbons, artisan chocolatier Grace Stocker trained at some of the most prestigious chocolate schools in Europe. Made in small batches with high-quality ingredients from around the world — and from local farmers — her bonbons are as pretty as they are delicious. Don’t miss the Maracaibo & Cranberry Caramel, which won the coveted Golden BonBon Award at the 2018 Academy of Chocolates Awards in London.
Using single-origin Venezuelan cacao instead of a blend of beans, Dillsboro Chocolate Factory crafts high-quality truffles, chocolate-covered espresso beans and cherries, almond bark, and more. But we especially love their pecan and cashew turtles, which, instead of messy globs of chocolate, nuts, and caramel, come in the chocolate-covered shape of an actual turtle.
It’s the fillings that make Jennifer Farrow’s handmade chocolates special. She uses local ingredients to create flavors so piquant that the chocolates sing: cream and butter from a dairy farm just down the road from her house; local honey, pecans, and sweet potatoes; and even liquor from nearby distillers. Try the Sweet Potato Crunch, which won the top prize in the food category of Our State’s 2018 Made in NC Awards.
Take a stroll down the Carolina Beach Boardwalk for fresh, creamy fudge in flavors like rocky road, espresso, chewy praline, and dark chocolate caramel sea salt — all served from a 38-foot wooden boat docked in the middle of the store. Plus, find chocolate-caramel turtles, chocolate-covered pretzels, and chocolate strawberries.
Cozy up with a cup of coffee in this café as you take your time deciding between Matthew’s truffles, chocolate bark, non-pareils, brownies, biscotti, and more. Thanks to his use of natural oils instead of extracts, the shop’s sweets consist of nothing more than pure, unadulterated goodness.
From peanut clusters to ancho cinnamon truffles to s’more bark, you’ll have plenty of options when crafting a delicious gift box. But for your valentine, we recommend chocolate-covered strawberries and a dozen Rose Bites — rose-shaped truffles that are sure to impress at least as much as a bouquet.
If it smells like brownies in downtown Raleigh’s warehouse district, then it’s roasting day at Videri. Inside, there are plenty of confections almost too pretty to eat, but a simple chocolate bar is guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth: It has the rich chocolate flavor that you love, but with more depth and a bright finish.
Order a cup of drinking chocolate in flavors ranging from chocolate chai to peanut butter to white chocolate and spices, or try one of Escazú’s “historic hot chocolates,” based on recipes from as far back as the 1500s. Or fill a box with jewel-colored, “paint”-splattered, gold-dusted confections so beautiful they could pass as works of art.
Picture windows provide a peek into the “visible factory,” where cocoa beans from the Dominican Republic become chocolate bars and gelato, espresso brownies and salted caramel tarts.
Specializing in “luxury” chocolate bars, Brasstown is involved in every step of the bean-to-bar process, from sourcing their fair-trade cacao beans directly from Latin American farms to wrapping up the final product. Try the award-winning Brasstown Sea Salt bar, which won gold in the 2016 International Chocolate Awards, or the Peruvian Ucayali 70%, which won bronze in 2018.