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Sustainability & Sourcing at French Broad Chocolate

Since the beginning, French Broad Chocolate has been deeply committed to sustainability. Dan and Jael's pilgrimage from Costa Rica to Asheville was on a bus Dan converted to run on waste fryer oil... with auxiliary power supplied by a solar panel he mounted on the roof!

Opened in 2008, The original Chocolate Lounge (around the corner on Lexington Avenue) was a 4-star Certified Green Restaurant, with a 5 panel solar hot water system and many other energy efficiency improvements. When the Chocolate Lounge relocated, we undertook an adaptive reuse of the first floor of the historic Legal Building, occupying what had, for most of its history, been a bank. Key improvements included LED lighting, low flow plumbing fixtures and a high efficiency hot water system, and use of reclaimed building materials.

At our new Chocolate factory in the RAMP Studios, we share our cacao shell mulch with local farmers and gardeners, and anything that can be composted is picked up by our colleague Danny of Danny's Dumpster, helping build our local soil fertility!

The list of initiatives we have taken to minimize our environmental footprint is a source of pride, but our most longstanding and devoted effort is in the purity and wholesomeness of our food.

Living in the fertile southern Appalachian mountains amid kindred agrarian spirits, we look no further than a holler in Old Sandy Mush for our flats of strawberries each spring, or Annie Louise's market stand for our fall pumpkins. We believe in supporting our community and its economy and are blessed to be surrounded with good food; chocolate and desserts are our contributions to that goodness! We must reach outside our foodshed for a few of our staples (like cacao and sugar!), but we remain true to our values, seeking farmers and producers whose values are in line with our own.

Certified B Corporation: Certified B Corp
We envision a global economy that uses business as a force for good. As B Corporations and leaders of this emerging economy, we believe: That we must be the change we seek in the world. That all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered. That businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all. That we are each dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations. Learn more here.

Bicycle Benefits: bicycle benefits
We’re helping to increase bicycle traffic by partnering with Bicycle Benefits. We reward cyclists for their regular physical activity and use of non-motorized movement with discounts when they show their helmet with the Bicycle Benefits sticker. Bicycling decreases pollution, congestion, parking demand, and helps create a healthier community. Learn more here.

Green Shipping: 
We implement environmentally friendly practices in our shipping process as well! We have said goodbye to styrofoam and during warmer months, we ship exclusively in environmentally friendly insulated coolers. The outer cardboard boxes are recyclable, the biodegradable insulation layer is manufactured, primarily, of post-industrial, pre-consumer cotton and other natural fibers, and the ice packs are biodegradable.  


Connecting You to the Source

From berries to dairy, from flour to flowers, our desserts and confections are a celebration of our bountiful foodshed. We are so committed to connecting you to the source of your food, we even make all of our chocolate from the cacao bean, right here in Asheville!

We are proud to be part of a growing movement of craft chocolate makers who are dedicated to sourcing with integrity. We nurture relationships with farmers and suppliers and pay far above commodity prices for the fruits of their labor. The farmers extra efforts in the post-harvest processes of fermentation and drying improve the quality and flavor of their cacao, which results in delicious and interesting chocolate for you!

No chocolate connects us more deeply with our roots than this bar. Dan & Jael lived in the cacao-rich jungles of Costa Rica for two years, where they opened a small café, called Bread & Chocolate. Daniel South was brought on as a dishwasher, eventually being trained as Head Baker. Now Daniel has returned to his agricultural roots as a cacao processor, cultivating cacao on his farm and buying seeds from his neighbors. He ferments in wooden boxes made from trees felled on his land, and exportscacao directly to us. Building a viable cacao business hasn’t been easy for Daniel, but we are seeing his efforts bear fruit. Our single-origin Costa Rica 80% Bar contains a robust cacao with an earthy aroma. The flavor profile begins with chocolate wafer cookie and transforms into tart raspberry.

On February 29, 2012, two cacao enthusiasts founded Cacao Bisiesto; hence the name (Bisiesto is Spanish for ‘leap year’). Giff, an ex-Peace Corps expatriate, and Jose Enrique, a Nicaraguan cacao agronomist, live in the Matagalpa region of Nicaragua, where Criollo and Trinitario cacao varietals have been cultivated for generations.Both brought years of professional experience and a shared vision to their partnership. To preserve heirloom varietals of cacao, they pay a premium to local farmers for Criollo-infused seed with fine flavor profiles, and plant rare varietals on their own farms. Then they ferment and dry with precision. Our single-origin Nicaragua 68% bar has won us recognition in the Good Food Awards and at the esteemed Northwest Chocolate Festival. It has an earthy quality and offers flavors of black coffee and licorice.

Deep in the foothills of northern Guatemala lies the village of Rocjá Pomtilá, a settlement of Maya Q’eqchi’ who cultivate cacao, cardamom, and maize. Their cacao has only recently become commercially available, thanks to the efforts of a truly extraordinary organization, Uncommon Cacao. The audacious proposition of Uncommon Cacao is that with education, organization and fair treatment, the cacao farmers can substantially improve their livelihoods. Their mission is to create a sustainable, prosperous cacao industry in which farmers and chocolate makers thrive together. Guatemalan cacao shines in our 73% single-origin bar, which offers flavors of concord grape, fresh-baked brownies, and almond butter.

CAC Pangoa, a large cooperative with over 700 farmer members, is at a crossroads. Most of their cacao production is undifferentiated “commodity cacao.” But under the leadership of Esperanza Dionisio Castillo, with support from an organization called Conservation Cacao, the members are being encouraged and trained to devote a portion of their production to fine flavor varietals with more attention given to the quality of harvest and fermentation. Conservation Cacao’s mission is to save the rainforest through sustainable cacao and we are proud to support that mission. Our Peru 70% single-origin bar features cacao from the Pangoa district. It has a cinnamon bark aroma and a flavor profile of tart cherry and lemon, over a creamy cocoa base.