ASHEVILLE, NC, April 24, 2019 – Making a stop at French Broad Chocolate lounge or French Broad Chocolate Factory & Café is a must-do, quintessential Asheville experience. The lines are typically out the door for the handcrafted chocolatier’s confections, and rightly so. Founder Jael Rattigan is a leader in the bean-to-bar chocolate movement and sought-after speaker around the world.
As curators of specialty products, The Fresh Market has been working with French Broad and is thrilled to offer these signature chocolates in their stores. Because of their handcrafted nature, free of preservatives and stabilizers, the chocolates have a 60-day shelf life from the time of production. Also due to the artisanal nature of the chocolate, particularly the truffles, guests who may not be familiar with the brand may initially balk at the higher price point. This is not your average chocolate bar!
“Where there was a will, we found a way,” said Michelle Beck, Director of Merchandising at The Fresh Market who spearheaded the French Broad Chocolate partnership. “We are excited to announce that our North Carolina stores will be offering an exclusive French Broad Chocolate truffle gift box – The Flora Collection, just in time for Mother’s Day.”
Making its debut at The Fresh Market this month, The Flora Collection consists of two of each of the following truffle flavors:
- Orange Elderflower - Sweet and floral orange essential oil and elderflower liqueur in a creamy white chocolate ganache, enrobed in milk chocolate
- Fresh Raspberry - A purée of local red raspberries in a fruit-forward dark chocolate
- Lavender Honey - Local lavender and wildflower honey dark chocolate ganache, enrobed in a milk chocolate shell swirled with natural lavender color.
The six-piece assortment will retail for $11.99 and is only available at The Fresh Market’s 21 North Carolina stores.
“Considering the only other way to get your hands on these truffles is to personally visit Asheville or order online -- which costs $6.00 alone to ship, this is a great deal,” said Beck.
Premier Bean-to-Bar Chocolatier in U.S.
As one of the first bean-to-bar chocolatiers in the United States and among the top five in the U.S., French Broad Chocolate’s mission is to source with integrity, craft with love and serve with gratitude.
They source their beans from Nicaragua, Guatemala, Peru and Costa Rica, where they pay cacao farmers double the commodity market price to create mutually beneficial relationships. This is one practice that helped French Broad become a Certified B-Corporation, along with other conscious businesses across the globe building a movement of people using business as a force for good.
Once the fermented, dried cacao beans arrive in their production facility in Asheville, they are roasted (fun fact – their antique roaster is originally from Italy where it was used to roast hazelnuts.)
An even roast begins to develop the flavor profile and aids in the process of winnowing, or removing the husk from the cacao seed. The husks are then given to a local pepper farmer as composting material – the same from whom French Broad Chocolate buys their peppers for their 72% Scorpion Pepper dark chocolate.
The nibs are milled to a paste then undergo conching – a process of heating and blending that refines the flavor and smooth texture.
Founders Dan and Jael Rattigan moved to Asheville, NC from Costa Rica in 2006 and first started selling their chocolates at farmers markets. They opened French Broad Chocolate Lounge (named after the river that runs through Asheville) in 2008. In 2012 they opened their bean-to-bar chocolate factory. In November 2018 they built a larger, 14,000 square foot factory just down the road in Asheville where they were able to triple production.
“It has always been a challenge to sell our chocolates at retail locations other than our own, due to the delicate nature of our truffles and controlling for temperature during shipping and the limited shelf-life,” said French Broad Chocolate founder Jael Rattigan. “We are beyond thrilled to have this exclusive partnership with The Fresh Market, who is also based in North Carolina, and known for carrying artisanal products, to help us make French Broad Chocolate more widely accessible.”