French Broad Chocolates
If you’ve ever visited Asheville, you may be familiar with the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. Or at least noticed a line of people waiting outside the front door to get in. Jael and Dan Rattigan opened the lounge in 2008 and have now expanded to three storefront locations: The Chocolate Lounge, The Chocolate Factory, and a new boutique, Chocolate+Milk.
French Broad Chocolates is a bean-to-bar chocolate company famous for their truffles, bars, cakes, cookies and cozy environment. Their love for chocolate has its roots in Costa Rica. While living there, Jael and Dan purchased an abandoned cacao farm and started a dessert shop. Life eventually led them to Asheville, where they began to pursue chocolate making from their home kitchen, selling chocolate online and at farmers markets.
As their product line expanded, their popularity did too. The lounge added more space in 2009 and moved to a new location in 2014. Eight years into the business—and now 75 employees strong—French Broad Chocolates is well-known not only for their chocolate but also for their values. They use local and organic ingredients to the fullest extent possible and operate their business with an understanding of the big picture. To other entrepreneurs Jael says, “Know WHY you want to grow. Growing to achieve a goal will motivate you and inspire you when times are tough. Want to support farmers? Empower marginalized individuals? Create local jobs? This meaningful sense of purpose will fuel your fire.”
Retailers across the country carry French Broad Chocolates, and their work is also showing up in unexpected places. Restaurants and even craft breweries are incorporating their chocolate and cacao nibs into recipes and brews. You can try it yourself, and bring their signature Liquid Truffle drink home.