[This post originally appeared on the NC Folklife Institute's NCFood blog, and is excerpted below. Click the link at the bottom of the post to read the full article at NCFood.]
This past January I shot up to Asheville to be a guest judge for the first round of the 2013 North Carolina Competition Dining Series, and while I was there I was lucky enough to get a personal tour of the new French Broad Chocolate Factory. Jael Rattigan and her husband Dan are the force behind the insanely delicious and hugely popular French Broad Chocolate Lounge in downtown Asheville, and this past summer they decided to go “bean-to-bar”, opening the French Broad Chocolate Factory where they are able to create their own chocolates from scratch. The Chocolate Lounge uses over 20,000 pounds of chocolate a year, and the hope is that by making the chocolate themselves they can over time become less dependent on purchasing chocolate from third parties. The wheel of sustainability keeps spinning! I met up with Jael at the factory and was immediately struck by the scent. You would expect a chocolate factory to smell like chocolate, but this was a different kind of scent. It wasn’t overwhelming or cloying, but it was ever-present, intoxicating, and, well, delicious. The factory itself is open and airy so visitors can get a peek at the entire process of making chocolate; nothing is hidden here. Jael referred to their operations as “open-source”; they have no trade secrets and are willing to share their knowledge with anyone.
I'm Matt. I love food. I love to grow it, cook it, eat it, learn about it, write about it, and talk about it. I believe that there are few things more important in life than what we put into our bodies. I believe food should be healthy for body, mind, and planet.
Once, while I was living in Ecuador, I ate some roast guinea pig from a street vendor. It was one of the best experiences and worst stomach aches of my life.