When Dan and Jael Rattigan met at a wedding in 2003, the path to creating French Broad Chocolates was not on either of their minds. After a trip together to Costa Rica, the pair knew life in the Midwest just wouldn’t do. So they dropped out of graduate school, packed their lives into a 40-foot vegetable oil-powered school bus (converted by Dan), and drove south to Costa Rica (having just learned Jael was pregnant). A few months later, they arrived in Puerto Viejo de Limon, a small Caribbean village filled with fisherman, surfers, and expatriates from around the world. And soon after arriving Dan and Jael opened a café and dessert shop, Bread & Chocolate.
Bread & Chocolate still exists, but Dan and Jael decided they weren’t beach people and, in their words ” somewhere along the way, Asheville, NC, became their destination and French Broad Chocolates was soon birthed (as was their second son, Max — their first having been borne in Puerot Viejo). The business began out of their home kitchen, selling their chocolates online and at local farmers markets. Demand quickly grew, by 2008 they were able to open the “French Broad Chocolate Lounge”, and in 2012, Dan and Jael’s dream of becoming a bean-to-bar chocolate maker was realized, when they opened French Broad Chocolate Factory & Tasting Room. Intent on nurturing connections to the source of their food, French Broad Chocolates imports cacao directly from “trusted farmers” and crafts amazing chocolate that win awards galore
For many craft chocolate afficianados, dark chocolates are a wonderful way to explore and taste the beans from a single farm or plantation. This can be true of 100% bars — but 100% bars also provide an intriguing opportunity for makers to blend different beans to bring out different subtleties and create different sensations. As Dan and Jael note “..with no sweet embellishment, the seed and the maker can both show their true colors. This is a bar of great intent: a melange of six origin cacaos our chocolate makers separately roasted, ground, and aged… then blended, conched together, and aged again. And we tasted, every step of the way, until it hit all the right notes. Though no sugar is added, the bright acidity manifests as natural sweetness … This blend surprised us with its balance.”
We agree – and can find wonderful raisin and coffee notes, with a silky, buttery finish
We taste raisin, espresso crema, and almond