Chocolate is important.

There are folks out there who have a genetic disability and are not able to understand the importance of chocolate. They don’t even like the stuff. I feel so bad for them…

For we individuals who have a relationship with the dark elixir, having a good artisan chocolate shop on hand is paramount. Vacations get planned around visits to chocolate shops. Square meals get forsaken for rich, decadent experiences. Hands and eyebrows shoot up emphatically when a fellow choco-head mentions our favorite treat.

In my humble opinion, the South’s absolute best chocolate destination is in Asheville, NC. French Broad Chocolate Lounge consistently lives up to my imagination.

Yes, I’ve been to Atlanta’s Cacao, and their packaging and presentation are top drawer, but it just isn’t nearly as good. Their flavors don’t unfold in complex layers that allow you to pick out every ingredient. And their portions are lacking. It’s not worth the splurge of calories or cash.

This box is tiny, with its contents very much "one-bite" treats.

Nestled in what is perhaps my favorite city, the cozy FBCL is tucked away on a side street very close to the downtown shops. You are greeted by an inevitable long line upon arriving, but it moves quickly. And it is a great opportunity to peruse the gorgeous offerings behind glass on your way to the register.

Everything is good, from the twice-fired creme brulee, to the scores of unique truffles and caramels. Such care and thought go into each edible that one truly respects this place, not just for the locavore consciousness and friendly staff, but for the sheer goodness.

And now for some photographic proof:

Truffles, caramels, pots du creme, creme brulee, chocolate mousse, tarts, tortes, cakes and much more.

Clockwise from the upper left: salted dark chocolate caramel, theros orange & fennel, earl gray, fresh raspberry, maple, and thai truffles.

Flourless chocolate torte with local berry sauce.

Twice-fired chocolate creme brulee.

Chocoholic savoring the moment.

French Broad Chocolate Lounge on Urbanspoon

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