The lounge of chocolate

July 13, 2010 · 10 comments

Way back when, Tim and I started our lives together by spending a year and change in a lovely little mountain town known as Asheville, North Carolina. I only lived there 15 months, but it feels like many years in my memory. This shift of my own personal space-time continuum is built upon many factors: the life definition that occurs during your first year of marriage; the fact that some of our deepest friendships sprouted from that time; the frequency with which we’ve returned to the town, in some ways making it feel as though we never left.

Last weekend, I met a couple of girlfriends in Asheville for our annually-attempted “girls’ weekend.”  That phrase has quite a gamut of connotations; for us, it usually means we gather somewhere near Asheville (what better place?) and spend copious amounts of time chatting like we’ve not talked to humans in a year. Most years past there’s been a baby or two in the mix — and there are usually four of us. This year, we were minus babies and sadly minus one quarter of our crew (she’ll be back next year, though, with yet another baby).

We were more girly this year, at our weekend. We got pedicures. We went shopping. We had late-night, margarita-inspired conversations in the indoor pool. And, we spent a little time one afternoon at the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. Aren’t establishments with that name created for things such as girls’ weekends?

There isn’t much to dislike about the FBCL — except maybe the long line for service. Walking past displays touting the goods of small-batch, craft chocolatiers such as Theo and Mast Brothers, your disbelieving eyes are met with a glass display case holding the truffles of your dreams. But before you can possibly make a decision (the line is moving, after all), you look above the glass case to see a chalkboard filled with more decisions. Should I get a cappuccino or cold glass of milk to complement my truffle? Would a glass of cold sipping chocolate put me over a cocoa ledge after downing three truffles (because I can’t pick just two… what mortal could?)? But wait — how could I possibly get a taste of that macaroon brownie? And while I am here right now for chocolate, could we come back later tonight and have a pint of local beer?

Because while the edibles are what draw you into the lounge, the atmosphere gives permission to hang out. Cozy seating and dark, warm colors provide reason to relax as you wait for your order (assuming you get a table — which is good impetus to hit the lounge in the afternoon rather than evening). Local art adorns the walls, and while I can’t speak for every day, the service we had was friendly and helpful. We chose the items I mentioned above — though I did actually limit myself to two truffles — the pictured lavendar-honey and maple-smoked-salt. Between the three of us, there were truffles, lavender cold sipping chocolate, hot chocolate, a latté, and a macaroon brownie (this one goes into my “must-try” box). Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate — right before heading out the door for our pedicures.

Pretty decadent, I’ll admit. But it was GW, after all. I figured that after 650 or so straight days of having at least one child attached to me, I was due for a day or two off. But don’t fear that I’ve teased you with tales of hand-crafted chocolates only to leave you with a desire that can’t be fulfilled. For one, it’s not an exclusive and remote area of France that I’m talking about — it’s North Carolina. A town that is this close to becoming too big for its britches, Asheville has lots to see, and is worth a stop sometime. And if a trip to the mountains isn’t in your near future, you can always check out their website and invest in some luxury of your own — their flat-shipping rate is just $9.99. Though I can’t promise the mountain magic will arrive with the package.

This post is part of Wanderfood Wednesday at Wanderlust & Lipstick.

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Myscha Theriault July 14, 2010 at 8:25 am

That looks like a FANTASTIC place to hang out with the girls. Chocolate and I go way back.

Rebecca Martin July 14, 2010 at 9:02 am

I’ve never yet been to the chocolate lounge! Someday, hopefully soon.

“I only lived there 15 months, but it feels like many years in my memory. ” YES. For me, it was 21 months. In hindsight, seems like years and years. Some magic there.

I’d randomly wondered the other day if you girls had gotten together again lately. What a great thing to do.

katy July 14, 2010 at 9:12 am

Myscha, you should try it if ever in NC. Even without a girl’s weekend, the chocolate makes it a worthy stop.

RM, did the Lounge open after your tenure? You and K. should make a trip before your newest addition — after that, things get complicated ; )

jessiev July 14, 2010 at 11:33 am

WHAT a read. i am envious of so many things – the girl weekend, the chatter, and most of all, the food choices! too bad you just couldn’t bunk upstairs from there and eat all your meals and snacks there. yes??

katy July 14, 2010 at 1:30 pm

jessiev, that is an idea worth exploring…

Logan Ayliffe July 14, 2010 at 11:52 am

Hey, thanks so much for this wonderful article! You really have a talent with words and photographs. We’re so glad that you had a good experience at the Lounge….it’s reading things like this that help keep me energized and happy at work.

I started a blog for the Lounge too! I’ll link this great article in the next one I do….and you can find it over here:

katy July 14, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Thanks, Logan. And you guys really have a talent with atmosphere and all things treat-worthy.

I hope you stay energized for years to come, so I can return and have more good experiences there. Thanks for the link!

Stephanie (Food Freeway) July 14, 2010 at 1:32 pm

What a gorgeous looking shop! Beautiful photos – I am now seriously craving some chocolate :)

Wanderluster July 20, 2010 at 6:35 pm

I’m with Jessiev – the whole weekend sounds great. But particularly those maple salt chocolates :-)

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