French Broad Chocolate, the bean-to-bar craft chocolate company out of Asheville, North Carolina, is now open on the first floor of Ponce City Market’s Central Food Hall, the Old Fourth Ward development announced recently.
French Broad Chocolate was founded in 2006 by Jael Skeffington and Dan Rattigan, according to a press release. The pair drove a veggie oil-powered school bus to the cacao-rich tropics of Costa Rica where they opened a café and dessert shop. They spent two years there visiting cacao farms and learning about Theobroma cacao, the plant from which chocolate is made, before moving to Asheville to fully focus on their passion for chocolate. They got their start with a farmers market stand, establishing relationships with local farmers and vendors before opening their first retail shop, French Broad Chocolate Lounge, in the heart of downtown Asheville in 2008.
“As a Certified B Corporation, Co-founder Jael believes in using business as a force for good,” according to the release. Furthering their mission to “thoughtfully source every ingredient as an artisan dessert and chocolate company,” Jael and Dan evolved to make their own craft chocolate from directly sourced cacao starting in 2010. In 2012, they opened their first Chocolate Factory in Asheville. After outgrowing their original location, they built a new experiential chocolate factory along the French Broad River in 2018, where guests can take tours and learn about cacao, their relationships at origins and the chocolate-making process firsthand.
French Broad Chocolate’s fan-favorites include bonbons with Asheville-grown flavors like Salted Honey Caramel, Fresh Raspberry and Lavender & Honey, and chocolate bars with flavors including Sea Salt, Brown Butter Milk and Chai Masala, plus an entire collection of single-origin dark chocolates.
“Opening at Ponce City Market has been a dream of ours for many years,” Jael said in the release. “This is a huge milestone, and we are so thrilled to become a part of the amazing food community in Atlanta.”
The space features a retail alcove where guests can purchase gift sets of edible art wrapped in French Broad’s signature blue and brown packaging. Plus, the shop serves items like Salted Caramel Brownies with cacao nibs from their baked goods program and sipping chocolate.