Employee Spotlight | February, 2018 | Hilary!
What is your position and how long have you worked for French Broad Chocolates?
I’m the Chocolatier Shift Lead. I’ve been working in our confections department for almost a year, but started with the company a year and a half ago, as a barista in the Lounge.
How did you get started in chocolate?
It’s my dream job! I remember watching Chocolat when I was in my early teens, and thinking that it would be so cool to make chocolate. I loved the scenes where she opens up her shop, and the closeups of how she makes the confections. The film goes really in-depth into the chocolate making process and it was so inspiring, but I never thought it would be possible. I had pastry experience and I was working in the Lounge as a barista, but I had never worked with chocolate. When the opportunity came up to move to the Confections department, I jumped at it!
Why do you like working here?
I love being creative, getting my hands into the chocolate, exploring new flavors and products. Being involved in the whole process from start to finish. I was super excited about the idea of peppermint bark, I made a sample and shared it with Jael and we started developing it.
I really love the Confections team. We’re a really small team, there are only 4 of us working full-time, and we make a lot of product. It’s really important to know that we have each other’s backs.
It’s so cool to see how much we source locally. Getting in giant batches of berries from local farmers in the summer, and freezing them to use all year long is amazing, and it’s awesome to know that we’re supporting the community that supports us.
My palate has really developed a lot over the last year. When I taste chocolate from all over the world, I can taste the flavors of the different regions from where it comes. Our Nicaragua 68% is my favorite. We use it in our Orange, Olive Oil and Fennel truffles, and we use our Amazonas 65% (from Peru) in our Fresh Raspberry and Strawberry Balsamic Truffles... the cacao brings out the flavors of the different ingredients we use, and vice versa. It’s so awesome to be able to taste the difference.
What are you currently reading/listening to?
I have Lorde and Of Monsters And Men on a calming fun playlist that I listen to a lot at work. I’m also reading a book called The Everything Box. It’s about an angel that was supposed to destroy everyone in the world, but he messed up and lost the doomsday box, so it didn’t happen. The book kindof goes back and forth between our time, but there are werewolves and vampires too! I’m also reading a series called The Secret Of Spellshadow Manor it’s kind of like a dark Harry Potter. I like series that have a lot of books, I’ll read them but also listen to them while i’m working so I get really really into them.
What else are you into?
I love photography and anything artsy. I love tattoos - I get a lot from Red Rabbit Tattoo. Bianca is my artist. I have a cupcake tattoo from my days as a baker, but I really want to get a tattoo of the chemical symbol for chocolate… it’s on my list!
What is your go-to form of self care?
I’ve been meditating lately. I’ve never done it before but I really like it. I also have a sign on my wall that has prompts like “what are three things you like about yourself” and I write responses on sticky notes. The trampoline park is really fun too!
What’s your favorite place to go in Asheville?
I’ve really been missing Doc Cheys, it was one of my all-time favorite spots. These days, I go to Dobra tea a lot, and Karen Donatelli’s bakery and Taco Billy. Oh! and Battery Park Book Exchange. That’s my self care too!
What is your favorite French Broad Chocolates treat?
The Vanilla Cake with Maple and Smoked Salt. That salt. That maple syrup. It’s definitely up there. Our Milk and Cookies ice cream.... I love our Strawberry Balsamic truffle too! The Cosmic Love Potion truffle (part of our seasonal Aphrodisiac Collection is soooo good. I like how you can taste all the different herbs, and the honey pulls all the flavors together. And it’s really cute, it has a rose petal on top!
What are you most excited about right now?
It’s been a week of fresh starts. I’m excited about the future. I’m thinking of planning a birthday trip to Iceland and Ireland too… the scenery is breathtaking, being in a completely different culture…and waterfalls and sheep!