The Asheville Dining Scene: Isa’s Bistro

I wear a lot of different hats in my life; mother, business manager, artist, chocolatier, and food lover to name a few.  I’m not a restaurant critic, but I love to explore Asheville’s unique and diverse culinary options and occasionally I’ll share my adventures with you.  Recently I’ve had my eye on our newest neighbor, Isa’s Bistro.  For many years their location at the corner of Battery Park and Haywood Street was held by The Flying Frog and since the Frog closed a few years ago the space has rotated from empty to unsuccessful restaurant.  I was excited when this spring the owner’s of the Haywood Park Hotel, Tony and Isa Fraga, opened their own restaurant concept here, Isa’s Bistro.

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They have done a beautiful job remodeling the old choppy space with an elegant and spacious dining room featuring art from Fraga’s personal collection.  They have opened up a lot of the windows including a window through to the hotel lobby giving the whole place a much brighter more welcoming feel.  Most importantly the newly opened dining room gives even more vantage points from which to people watch as this is one of the best places in Asheville for people watching. Isa Fraga explained to me that a unique feature of the dining room is that there is natural light coming from almost 360 degrees and that every table has a view to the street… like I said, excellent people watching.  Isa also explained to me that they tried to preserve as much of the buildings original architecture as possible, they opted out of putting in a drop ceiling so that the original architecture is exposed.

I’ve only had the opportunity to visit for lunch a couple of times and the food is promising.  A recent meal there produced a wonderfully delicious seared salmon and I enjoyed a rather yummy and memorable side of bean salad at another lunch.  I really appreciate when a chef puts as much time and attention into creating a side as a main dish.  I look forward to seeing the different menus the chef creates as they promise a seasonally changing menu.  For obvious reasons, I haven’t tried dessert yet, but I do look forward to an opportunity to sample the dinner menu. Maybe I’ll remember to tone down my chocolate eating that day so I can try dessert; online reviews say that it is good.

One of the best services they have to offer, and a rare treat in downtown Asheville, is free valet parking.  Just pull up to the Haywood Park Hotel entrance and a friendly member of the hotel bell staff with take care of your car.  While your car is neatly tucked away in the garage I’m sure they wouldn’t mind if you made a quick visit to the neighboring Chocolate Fetish to take home a late night indulgence (just don’t tell them I recommended that J).

For more information about Isa’s Bistro and to check out their menu http://www.isasbistro.com/

Honoring Domestic Violence Awareness Month with Chocolate High Heel Shoes

Do you know that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and that an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of domestic violence every year?  Do you know that year round The Chocolate Fetish partners with Helpmate, a local domestic violence agency?  I’m so excited to share with you a new promotion we’re doing to help bring awareness to this worthy cause and continue to support Helpmate.

Artist & Chocolatier Jessica Lied hand crafting chocolate high heel shoes.

Artist & Chocolatier Jessica Lied hand crafting chocolate high heel shoes.

We’ve created a specially designed chocolate high heel shoe, the proceeds from which will be donated to Helpmate.  Each limited edition chocolate high heel shoe boasts a unique purple ribbon pattern that has been specially designed for this promotion.  Our talented chocolatier that designed and created all the shoes, Jessica Lied, says that she enjoys the opportunity to make the shoes because; “I know that my creativity will have a positive impact on the lives of others.”  The limited edition high heel shoes will be available in store and on our website exclusively through the month of October.  Each hand decorated chocolate shoe is available in milk or dark chocolate for $32.95.

The Chocolate Fetish has partnered with Helpmate since 2005.  Throughout the year we give frequent donations to them such as our recent donation of over 200 chocolates for their, “Men who Care Luncheon.”  The annual “Men Who Care Luncheon” was held on September 12, 2013 and raised over $38,000 for Helpmate.  We also sell a special ‘Helpmate Assortment’ year round and donate all the proceeds to Helpmate.  Our Helpmate Assortment is adorned with a purple ribbon and contains chocolate covered caramels and New England style butter crunch.  It sells for $16.95 and is available in our store.

In addition to the monetary donations we make through out the year we also collect gifts for the residents of Helpmate’s shelter during the holidays.  We used to have an employee secret Santa gift exchange and no one was really that excited about it.   One year I suggested that we give gifts to Helpmate instead and the response was overwhelming.  Years before it was hard to get people to spend $10 on a gift for a coworker.  But now every year we collect literally 100’s of brand new gift items (from a staff of 20) to take to the women and children at the shelter.  My favorite part of our staff Christmas party every year is collecting and wrapping the gifts, it always brings a tear to my eye.

You can learn more about Helpmate and all the services they offer at http://www.helpmateonline.org/.  If you know someone who may be suffering from domestic violence but don’t know how to help come by and pick up one of our Helpmate boxes and a brochure… it’s a subtle way to let them know there is help available.  We have heard success stories from this method in the past!

The Continuing Adventures of a Chocoholic in Buffalo, NY. Final Installment

If you have been following my blog you know that I have spent the last week at a chocolate conference in Buffalo, New York.  It’s been a nice break from my everyday routine but I sure will happy to be back home in wonderful Asheville.

What does one do at a chocolate conference?  Of course I taste lots of delicious and sometimes not so delicious chocolates, and I also attend seminars about various topics including making candies and chocolates.  One of the seminars offered at this conference was titled, “Ganache Formulation for the Non-Food Scientist.”  During this seminar we learned how to formulate a ganache from a scientific perspective to be sure it has the ‘proper ratio’ of fats and sugars.  While this was interesting and useful information I think I’ll continue to make taste my number one priority.

This is an antique tin chocolate mold.  These days most chocolatiers use plastic, silicon, or polycarbonate molds.

This is an antique tin chocolate mold. These days most chocolatiers use plastic, silicon, or polycarbonate molds.

Another seminar I attended was titled “History & Use of Confectionery Molds around the World.”  During this seminar, presented by the author of a couple of fabulous books about chocolate and candy including Chocolate: the Sweet History, we learned all sorts of interesting tidbits about the development and use of molds for chocolate making.  Did you know that molding chocolates became popular as early as the 1830s and that early chocolateirs often hammered their own tin molds?

The best part of a chocolate conference is always the tours to various candy shops and manufactures.  On this tour we visited a number of family owned candy businesses some of whom have been in business for generations.

One of the companies we visited, Fowler’s, is credited with inventing sponge candy.  So what is Sponge Candy?  Sponge candy is made with caramelized sugar and has a honeycomb like texture.  It is sweet and crunchy but sort of melts in your mouth at the same time.  One of our hosts on the tour said they call it Sponge Candy because it acts like a sponge and absorbs moisture in the air.  In fact many of the places around here don’t even make it in the summer because it absorbs the humidity in the air so rapidly that it ruins the delicious crunchy texture.  We sell Sponge Candy covered in chocolate although we leave the making of the sponge to the experts and just do the chocolate covering part.  On this trip I learned that while Sponge Candy originated in Buffalo, variations of it are made in many areas of the United States and boast different names wherever you go; Fairy Food, Sponge Taffy, Cinderblock, Sea Foam, Molasses Puffs, and Honeycomb are all names you may see.

So did I fulfill my desire to find some really tasty chocolate while I was in Buffalo?  Sadly, no.  I know I am a bit biased but while I tasted some well made chocolate confections I never tasted anything I liked nearly as much as a decadent Chocolate Fetish truffle.   It’s always good to get away if only to remind us how good we have it back at home.  Absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

The continuing adventures of a chocoholic foodie in Buffalo, NY.
Buffalo's Art Deco City Hall.  Reminds me a lot of Asheville's City Hall... on steroids.

Buffalo’s Art Deco City Hall. Reminds me a lot of Asheville’s City Hall… on steroids.

I am definitely a foodie.  The first thing I look for in any town is where to eat, and where the locals eat.  I justify it as being part of my job but let’s face it, if it’s not dessert it probably isn’t work related.  

On my second night in Buffalo I had the pleasure of going to E.B. Greene’s Steakhouse.  This highly rated steakhouse happened to be the conference hotel’s restaurant so it was convenient and very delicious.  The steak was cooked perfectly… melt in your mouth delicious.  I am a self described customer service guru and E.B.Greene’s delivered with impeccable service, and I do not use the word impeccable lightly.  I was tempted with dessert but was saving room for my next adventure, in retrospect I wish I hadn’t.

My next stop, The Chocolate Bar left a lot to be desired.  Some may say I am a chocolate snob…. They may be right.  I do have the pleasure of eating really high quality chocolate on a regular basis but I don’t think it’s too much to ask to make your own desserts when your name is The Chocolate Bar.  When I called ahead I was told that everything was made in house or locally but when I pressed the bartender for information about the desserts he informed me that while they used to make all their desserts in house they are franchising now so they just can’t do both.  Too often quality places make the decision to forsake the thing that they built their reputation on.  It is always disappointing to see a place like this with a great name and a great concept ship in frozen desserts.  I was having a craving so I ordered the Belgian chocolate pyramid which was a dark chocolate pyramid filled with chocolate mousse.  It wasn’t very good but I still ate nearly the whole thing because I’m just that much of a chocoholic.

Every time I leave Asheville I am reminded just how special home is.  Our vibrant and bustling downtown is really something to be proud of, and the amount of support for local businesses like The Chocolate Fetish is heartwarming.  So far the most important thing I have learned on this trip is how important it is to support local independent businesses everywhere you go and especially at home.  Hopefully as my adventures in Buffalo continue I will find some quality chocolate that lives up to my expectations.  With tours to 5 different family owned candy and chocolate shops coming up I have high hopes.  Stay tuned to hear all about them and the rest of my adventures in Buffalo.

A Chocoholic in Buffalo, NY

Occasionally I get the opportunity to travel for my work, and it is always pretty sweet.  I have attended numerous workshops and classes to hone my chocolate making skills, frequently visit the merchandise mart in Atlanta (see blog post America’s Mart Atlanta from July 2011) to fill our retail store with fun merchandise and packaging and attend various trade shows across the country.  Right now I am in Buffalo, New York for one trade organization’s fall conference.  The three day conference is chock full of seminars like one titled, “The History and Use of Confectionary Molds Around the World”, panel discussions like, “Kettle Talk”, and my favorite part, tours!

While I am here I also plan to do a little touring of my own and I have already begun to compile a good list of intriguing places.  There are a handful of local chocolate shops, a couple iconic chickien wing restaurants, and a place called The Chocolate Bar.  The Chocolate Bar has a full menu, an extensive drink selection and lots of cake and desserts many of which are made in house or loccally.  I am looking forward to trying one of their signature hot chocolates, perhaps the Aztec flavor.
The first chocolate shop and factory that I visited in Buffalo, NY

The first chocolate shop and factory that I visited in Buffalo, NY

I have already visited one of the chocolate shops on my list.  Unfortunatly, as is so often the case, the first place left a lot to be desired and reminded me just how special the products we make are.  I was intrigued with flavors like Raspberry Habenero, Absinthe Lavender, and Paprika Caramel, but none of them delvivered.  Many of the pieces I tried from my first Buffalo chocolate shop were flavored too subtly, I couldn’t even tell there was spice in the Raspberry Habenero, and they just weren’t chocolatey enough.  Luckily I brought along a care package  of Chocolate Fetish treats so I don’t have to go without decadent chocolates.
 
I also visited the home of the original Buffalo wing, The Anchor Bar.  The Anchor Bar wins definite points for atmosphere and the wings were good.  I’m not going to say they were the best I have ever had but I have heard others say that.  They were nice and meaty, had the perfect amount of crispyness to the skin and the sauce was thick and buttery with just the right amount of spice.  I hear their is another place in town that the locals say is better so I guess I’ll have to suffer through another plate of hot wings while I’m here.
 
Later this week I will tour the first place to ever make sponge candy, the place that manufacturers most of our box packaging, and a company that manufactures molds for the candy industry.  Stay tuned to hear all about my chocolate adventures in Buffalo and if you have the inside scoop on the best chocolates, or the best wings, or other must see spots in Buffalo please share!
 
The Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY.   The place credited with creating the Buffalo Chicken WIng.

The Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY. The place credited with creating the Buffalo Chicken WIng.

Chocolate and Beer Pairing Round 2

Some days my job is pretty sweet.  Venturing out of the shop to do another round of research about chocolate and beer pairing is precisely one of those days.  My retail manager, Joe, was a little disappointed the other day when he didn’t get invited to the first beer and chocolate pairing so knowing that he is a beer connoisseur I offered for him to join me.  The Thirsty Monk seemed like a good choice, not close enough to the shop to run back and grab more chocolates but with their large selection and offering of half pours, a great place to sample and pair.  If you have never been to the Thirsty Monk, I would highly recommend it.  Upstairs is an American Ale House with an impressive number of beers on tap.  You may have to flag down a bartender to get service but once you get there attention they are happy to make suggestions and offer samples before you commit.  Downstairs is a Belgian style pub, which is always a little quieter than upstairs and has a cool cave like atmosphere that is fabulous if you want to escape a hot summer day.

Starting with the lighter beers today we started with a pilsner.  There selection of pilsner’s was somewhat limited so we choose something local and readily available, Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils and paired it with the recommended dark chocolate with spice.  I was actually surprised at how many times the ‘experts’ recommended dark chocolate with spice for so many different styles of beer.  We do offer a few different spicy flavors so I attempted to pair a different one with each different beer.  I thought that the rich spiciness of our Ancient Pleasure truffle would be a nice compliment to the refreshing flavor of the pilsner.  The combination brought the spice in the Ancient Pleasures to the forefront in a very pleasing way.  I think Joe would have been happy to end the tasting here and just throw back a few more Pilsners and Ancient Pleasures but I reminded him we were still working.

The next beer on the list is a personal favorite, IPA.  The experts recommended an IPA with crisp hoppy bitterness and we decided to go with the bartender’s suggestion of the Green Flash Citra Session IPA, which fit the bill perfectly.  Again here the recommendation was a dark chocolate with spice or salt.  Unfortunately I forgot to bring a Sea Salt Caramel although I think that would have been a successful pairing so we tried our Chili Cocoa Nib Round with the IPA.  The Chili Cocoa Nib Round is a thin disc of dark chocolate accented with pasilla and ancho chilies and finely ground cocoa nibs.  This was delicious and one of my favorite pairings so far.  I was surprised at how much the beer really enhanced the flavor of our Chili Cocoa Nib Round.

Our final beer upstairs (we were sharing half pours so total beer consumption was pretty minimal) was a Stout.  Last week we had tasted an Imperial Stout but didn’t come up with a successful pairing so we wanted to revisit the stout category and I am glad we did.  Another successful pairing!  The experts suggested coffee with chocolate so we tried our Dark Chocolate Espresso Round and our Mocha Magic Truffle with a rich stout that had undertones of tobacco.  While I am normally a dark chocolate fan I found the sweetness of the milk chocolate in the Mocha Magic to pair very well with the bitterness of the Stout, the dark chocolate was much less successful.

Next we headed downstairs to tackle a few Belgian style ales.  Initially we were planning on trying a Dopplebock and another Lambic but were quickly steered to other flavors on the suggestion of a very excited bartender that seemed to know what he was talking about.  We discussed the chocolate flavors that were left in our box and he made a handful of suggestions.  First we tried the Merry Monks Belgian Triple with our Mountain Sunrise Ecstasy Elite Truffle.  The classic flavor of dark chocolate and orange in this truffle paired very nicely with this classic Belgian style ale.

Finally we tried the bartender’s suggestion of Nostradamus, a Belgian Strong Ale.  This paired very nicely with two of our pure dark chocolate truffles, Velvet Sin and After Midnight.  Perhaps the 9.5% alcohol content was starting to get to me because the only note I took down was that it was good… I guess you’ll just have to try it yourself.

My conclusions after more than a dozen chocolate and beer match ups?  Beer and chocolate pairing is an art that is defiantly worth exploring.  If you plan on embarking on a beer and chocolate tasting I would recommend taking a large variety of chocolate and finding a bartender that has the time and knowledge to make suggestions.  You can repay them like we did with your leftover chocolates (and a generous tip).  I’ve also created a handy chart that you can reference for some starting points but I encourage you to explore and find what works for you… and let us know what you discovered!

Style of Craft Beer/Characteristic Flavor Type of chocolate recommended Chocolate Fetish Product Pairing
IPA with crisp hoppy bitterness Dark with spice/salt Chili Cocoa Nib Round, Sea Salt Caramel
Pilsner Medium body dark chocolate Ecstasy Ancient Pleasures Truffle
Brown Ale Almonds + dark chocolate Almond Caramel Cup
Oatmeal Stout Milk chocolate with coffee Ecstasy Mocha Magic Truffle
Fruit Lambic with peach Dark chocolate + spice Crystallized Ginger in Dark Chocolate
Belgian Strong Ale Dark chocolate Ecstasy Velvet Sin TruffleEcstasy Elite After Midnight Truffle
Belgian Triple Dark chocolate + citrus Ecstasy Elite Mountain Sunrise Truffle

Pairing Chocolate and Beer in Beer City USA.

When creating a new website there are all kind of things one has to develop.  Some things you expect like new product pictures and descriptions.  Some are a bit unforeseen like what picture am I going to pair with the word Fetish in the dictionary? (We’re still working on that if you have ‘appropriate suggestions’)  Most things end up taking more time then you expect, some are easy, some are difficult, and some are downright fun.  Case in point writing the Beer and Chocolate pairing section.
The first step was to do some research to find out what the experts suggest.  I was surprised to find so much information out there about pairing beer and chocolate.  After compiling a list of about eight different beer styles and the experts suggested chocolate pairings I began to identify items in our product line that may work well for the pairings.  For instance the experts suggested that a dark chocolate with spice would pair well with a Peach Lambic.  Knowing that a Peach Lambic has a sweet fruity flavor I determined that a spicy chocolate like our Ancient Pleasures (dark chocolate + cayenne) would probably not pair well, but perhaps a piece of chocolate covered crystallized ginger would go well?
Finding the perfect beer and chocolate pairing at The Bier Garden.

Finding the perfect beer and chocolate pairing at The Bier Garden.

The next step was to grab a beer loving co-worker (and chocolate loving but that’s a given for anyone that works at The Chocolate Fetish) and head to the nearest bar.  We choose to begin at The Bier Garden for our first round of pairings.  The Bier garden is the closest bar to The Chocolate Fetish and they also offer a large selection of specialty beers so I knew we would have no problem finding all the different beer styles we were looking for.  The Bier Garden is also home to Jackson Zoeller who has been voted as the best bartender in Asheville for multiple years so I knew we would be able to pick his brain for lots of beer details.  The proximity to The Chocolate Fetish proved helpful, as I was able to run back when a flavor I hadn’t anticipated was needed.

It’s recommended that when paring chocolate and beer that you start with the lighter beers and work your way to the darker so we started with a Peach Lambic.  When I was in Belgium I actually had the pleasure of visiting a Lambic brewery where the brewing process uses wild yeast fermentation!  An interesting process that includes letting the beer sit in giant open vats in an historic building with slats for a roof that allow the wild yeasts in… but that’s a whole other blog post.  This pairing turned out to be pretty delightful.  I wouldn’t say that either product was really enhanced by the other but they did pair quite well.  The slight spiciness of the ginger complimented the sweetness of the Lambic and all the flavors worked well together.  A refreshing pairing that would be great at the end of a hot summer day.  My tasting partner said that when tasting the Lambic and ginger together it really reminded him of drinking a hard cider, but better.
Next on the list was a dopplebock with subtle spice notes.  The only thing the Bier garden had to offer here was a rather large bottle that we didn’t feel like taking on at the moment (I can’t let a good beer go to waste) so on the suggestion of one of the bartenders we tried a wheat beer that was listed as having subtle spice overtones of cinnamon and banana peel.  It was recommended to pair this with a sweet spiced chocolate so we tried it with our Chai Moon Truffle (White and milk chocolate with Chai Tea Spices, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, etc) and with our Diamond Griottine (dark chocolate with a French brandied cherry and white chocolate ganache).  After taking a couple of bites and sips I looked over at my co worker’s tasting notes to see “No! No! No!” written boldly next to this line.  Maybe they didn’t pair well because we substituted the wheat beer for the dopplebock, maybe it just wasn’t a good pairing, either way I wholeheartedly agree neither of these were successful.
Moving into beers with a bit more color next on the list was a brown ale.  We stuck with the classic and readily available Newcastle Nut Brown Ale here and the recommended pairing was almonds and dark chocolate.  Thankfully we had a little more success with this pairing.  Almond Caramel Cups are one of our lesser known products that are high on my personal favorites list.  A delicate dark chocolate surrounds a liquid caramel accented with lightly salted slivered almonds.  We both thought this paring was quite nice.  A little of the rich chocolaty flavor was lost when pairing with the brown ale but the saltiness of the almonds went quite well with the sweetness of the caramel and beer.  We both thought that when tasted together the chocolate really brought out the complexity of the beer.
The final beer for the evening (by the way we were sharing so total consumption was about two pints) was an Imperial Stout.  Here we went with a classic micro brew imperial, Old Rasputin.  This beer has a rich dark color – as dark as our dark chocolate – and a strong heavy flavor.  This is the kind of beer that connoisseurs love and that makes others swear off beer altogether.  The recommended pairing was Raspberries and dark chocolate so I had selected our America’s Best Raspberry Truffle to taste.  While doing my research I had read that when tasting beer and chocolate together to try taking a sip of the beer then the chocolate and then taste the chocolate first then the beer second.  In no other paring was the ability of the order in which one tasted to change the flavor more apparent!  When I started with the Old Rasputin and then tasted the truffle it was actually quite pleasant.  Somehow the raspberry flavors did compliment the rich dark earthiness of that beer, but when I did it the other way around, chocolate first then beer it was, well gross.  I would have left this pairing on our recommended pairing list but didn’t feel in good conscious that I could since it was so dependent on the order in which one tasted the chocolates.
I am planning on stealing another co-worker away early next week to taste the final four pairings on our list, which include an IPA, a pilsner, a raspberry Lambic, and an oatmeal stout so stay tuned for the continuation of our beer and chocolate pairings!.  We may consider trying a dooplebock as well since we missed it the first time.  If you have ever had a great chocolate and beer pairing we’d love to hear about your experience and suggestions!

It’s only 112 days until Christmas!

It may seem early to be thinking about Christmas but in the world of retail sales its already getting late.  In fact when I called one of our tin suppliers last week to order holiday tins I was dismayed to find that one of the patterns was already sold out for the year!  (Don’t worry we found something else that is even more fabulous!)  We started feeling the holiday spirit a few weeks ago when a couple of our chocolatiers started listening to Christmas Carols.  A few of us weren’t exactly getting in the spirit but its hard to continue being a bah humbug when others are finding so much joy in there daily dose of the Pandora Christmas station.  Not to mention with talented vocalists like Lauren Baker of Sirius B signing along who couldn’t get in the spirit?  Sirius B, an ‘absurdist gypsy funk folk band’ was recently named best local band in the Mountain Xpress Reader’s poll, check them out here http://www.siriusbmusic.com/.

Woodland Santa Advent Calender

Count down the days until Christmas with one of our heirloom quality Advent Calenders. Each one is filled with over 40 pieces of chocolate!

It was a good thing we were in the spirit because shortly after the carols began the advent calendars arrived.  For the past few years we have been offering these calendars and they are the type of thing that tends to take over our already limited space.   Each one stands about 20″ tall and is made of wood and you can imagine when receiving about 30 of them they take up quite a lot of room.  Further more each and every one had to be opened and carefully checked for damages.  We have already had customers asking about these so I’ll go ahead and let you know that we plan to have them available in October and we will have them in the shop and on our website then.  Each calendar has 24 little doors and behind each door we put two hand crafted chocolates in a variety of Christmas themed shapes.  We won’t plan on shipping until mid November so that you get nice fresh chocolate at the beginning of December when you start opening them.  I’ve included a sneak peak photo (of this year’s new design) here just to get your interest peaked.  If you want to reserve one we’ll defiantly do that for you, we usually sell out of at least one design (and I can never tell which one that is going to be).

Vintage Holiday Tin

One of this years NEW special holiday tins. This one is 10″ x 7″ and it sure can hold a lot of our delicious handcrafted chocolates!

The Holiday product pile continues to grow as a variety of special tins and adorable boxes are quickly flowing in.   My job… figuring out exactly what goes in each special assortment.   It can be difficult to build a special assortment, and in years past I have had some that have been surprisingly successful and others that have just flopped.  I usually have a certain price range in mind and I also have the limitation of the size of the packaging but after that the sky’s the limit.  I’m always torn between trying to give the customer one of everything and not giving the customer the one thing they won’t like.  In the end we usually just try to have a good mix of different things and hope that they are appealing.  Here’s where you our valued customer comes in.  What do you want to see in a special assortment?  Special holiday offerings like a hand crafted chocolate Santa or snowman, individual bite size delicacies like truffles and caramels, collections of bags of pretzels and peanut butter bites?  More variety or stick to one kind of product?  Right now we’re playing around with a variety of assortments in special keepsake boxes with prices ranging from $16.95 to $65.95, so let us know what makes an assortment appealing to you!
As we get closer to the Holiday season we will continue to highlight special holiday products and offerings here on our blog.  Check back later this week to hear the details of my recent adventures in Chocolate and Beer pairing in Beer City USA.

Our NEW website is here!

As many of you have already discovered we have recently launched our new and improved website! www.chocolatefetish.com  All of us at The Chocolate Fetish hope you’ll take the time to look around and get to know it.  We’re still working on perfecting it and ironing out the wrinkles and we’d love to hear your feedback. 

With the launch of the new website comes the re-launch of our blog.  There is a saying in business, “work on your business, not in your business.”  Being a small family run operation its easy to get caught up in the day to day and well let’s admit it I love to get my hands on some chocolate and enjoy getting to meet all the customers that frequent our shop more than I love to sit in an office and type.  However, I know how much all our fans want to know what’s going on behind the scenes so I’m going to make sure to keep you updated once or twice a week from now on.  I hope that this blog can become a dynamic place with readers anxiously awaiting each week’s post and giving us lots of feedback.  We’d love to get your input about what you want to hear about in our chocolate blog so please don’t be shy!

Here are some highlights from our new website that you should be sure to check out!  First of all you can now order a custom box of our Ecstasy Elite Truffles.  This line features our ever expanding selection of seasonal flavors so be sure to keep checking back often to see what we are featuring.  As fall is quickly approaching we will soon be offering our Pumpkin Pie Truffles and our Maple Walnut Carmel Cups, yum!  Another favorite feature of the new site is our Caramels & Frogs page… no more searching for that assorted box of Sea Salt Caramels!  Also on our Caramels and Frogs page is a brand new caramel assortment that has a nice selection of all our different caramel products including a personal favorite, Almond Caramel Cups.  I just can’t get enough of these delicious delicacies… a thin dark chocolate shell encases a liquid caramel wrapped accented by lightly salted slivered almonds.  How many times can I write yum! in one blog post?

Have you seen our hand decorated Chocolate Shoes?  Now featuring a page of their own you can purchase a variety of our chocolate shoes right from our website.  All hand decorated by our talented chocolatiers we are offering our Chocolate Shoes in Cowboy Boots, Contemporary High Heels, and our NEW Animal Print High Heel Shoes.  Be sure to check out the photo gallery to see a small selection of the creativity and whimsy our chocolatiers bring to our Chocolate High Heel Shoes.

Be sure to check out our updated selection of Chocolate Rounds.  I know when I look at that beautiful photography I instantly begin to crave some chocolate (luckily I have it close at hand).  The last thing you want to be sure to check out is our new and improved Chocolate Dictionary complete with videos.  Careful not to drool on your tablet or keyboard as you expand your chocolate knowledge and enjoy listening to the incredibly sensuous voice of Peter, the lovely man that provided the video voice-overs.

Don’t forget to share your feedback and keep an eye out for interesting upcoming blog posts including my recent adventures in beer and chocolate pairing in Asheville!

 

The Mountain Xpress Best of WNC

It’s that time again!  It’s time to vote for your favorite Asheville establishments in the Mountain Xpress Best of WNC.   We have won first place for Best Chocolate for 12 years (and 2nd place twice) and we need your help to win again!  Please vote for us and your other favorite Asheville establishments and tell your friends, neighbors, and fellow chocoholics to vote.
When you begin filling out your ballot, remember that you can skip the survey at the beginning but you will need to vote for at least 30 categories for your vote to be counted.    Even if your local we know this can be a challenge so we have compiled this list of our favorites to help you make your decisions.  It could get a little long so if you get tired just write The Chocolate Fetish into 30 slots!  Thanks for your continued support and thanks for helping us “rock the vote!”
Place your vote here:  www.vote.bestofwnc.com
Voting ends August 22nd

Eats
Barbecue  12 Bones
Bakery (sweets/desserts)  Old Europe
Bread  Farm & Sparrow
Breakfast/brunch  Early Girl Eatery
Burger Roman’s
Caterer Rosanne Capone Purple Rose Catering
Cheap lunch The Mediterranean

Chocolate  The Chocolate Fetish

Greek  The Mediterranean
Indian  Katmandu
Italian  Strada
Japanese / Sushi  Heiwa Shokudo
Options for special diets (gluten-free, lactose-free, etc)  Posana
Pizza  Circle in the Square
Seafood  Bonefish Grill

Best service  The Chocolate Fetish

Splurge restaurant  The Admiral
Subshop/deli/sandwiches  Roman’s
Top chef  Rosanne Capone Purple Rose Catering
Vegetarian  Laughing Seed

Drinks
Bartender Jackson @Beer Garden
Coffee shop Malaprops
Dive bar  The Admiral
Local brewery Highlands Brewery
Sports bar The Beer Garden

Arts

Sculptor Elizabeth Foley Chocolate Sculptor @ The Chocolate Fetish

Local Visual Artist Joshua Spiceland
Photographer Julie McMillan
Local band: R&B/Blues  The Secret B-Sides
Local band: Rock Antique Firearms
Place to hear live music Grey Eagle

Uniquley Asheville

Best Reason to Live in Asheville The Chocolate Fetish