I tend to have a soft spot for any company with a good origin story and in that regard, French Broad chocolate is about as good as it gets. In a nutshell (or in a cacao bean pod perhaps?), owners Dan and Jael met at a wedding, hit it off, planned a trip to Costa Rica together, loved it so much that they decided to move there, opened up a cafe/dessert shop, and starting learning all about chocolate. After gathering as much knowledge as they could about chocolate, they eventually moved back to the US and started making their own. Thus French Broad was born. The name itself is probably not what you would assume at first glance. It in fact comes from the French Broad River, which runs through Asheville, North Carolina where French Broad chocolate is located.
I was fortunate enough to sample the bars in French Broad’s line up recently. There are 8 in total, half of which are single origin bars from countries like Guatemala, Nicaragua, Peru, and of course, Costa Rica. The 73% bar from Guatemala was one of my favourites with notes of concord grape that almost came through as a piney-ness, akin to maple sap. French Broad also offers a 100% bar, which is a blend of beans from 6 different origins. Melted down it makes for the perfect addition to homemade Nutella.
Finally, they make 3 flavoured bars: coffee, sea salt, and malted milk. Unlike the single origin bars which almost force you to taste and savour them, these bars make for easy (almost too easy) snacking. The malted milk was probably my favourite, and also the most unique. The malts (which they get from a local grain miller) add flavours of cinnamon and nutmeg that remind me of the frozen swirl ice cream malts I love so much. And what can I say, the coffee bar isn’t half bad either, especially when baked into a pan of uber fudgy brownies.
To find out where you can get your hands on some French Broad bars to taste as-is, or add into your favourite chocolate recipes, check here.
**Thanks to French Broad for supplying the chocolate for this review. Although the chocolate was provided to me, the opinions here are exclusively my own.