Certified Green Restaurant
Since its inception, French Broad Chocolates has invested deeply in sustainability. Dan and Jael's original pilgrimage from Costa Rica back to Asheville was on a bus Dan converted to run on waste fryer oil... with auxiliary power supplied by a PV panel he mounted on the roof!
The original Chocolate Lounge (around the corner on Lexington Avenue) was a 4-star Certified Green Restaurant, with a 5 panel solar hot water system and many other energy efficiency improvements.
When the Chocolate Lounge relocated, we undertook an adaptive reuse of the first floor of the historic Legal Building, occupying what had, for most of its history, been a bank. Key improvements included LED lighting, low flow plumbing fixtures and a high efficiency hot water system, and use of reclaimed building materials.
Down the hill at our factory, on the aptly named South Slope, a three-panel hot water solar system gets the chocolate off our pots and pans. Of course, our gardens are full of cacao shells, and anything that can be composted is picked up by our colleague Danny, helping build the soil fertility around town.
The list of initiatives we have taken to minimize our environmental footprint is a source of pride, but our most longstanding and devoted effort is in the purity and wholesomeness of our food.
Living in the fertile southern Appalachian mountains amid a small army of kindred agrarian spirits, we look no further than a holler in Old Sandy Mush for our flats of strawberries each spring, or Annie Louise's market stand for our fall pumpkins. We are blessed to be surrounded with good food; chocolate and desserts are our contributions to that goodness! We must reach outside our foodshed for a few of our staples, including cacao and sugar, but we always try to buy the most pure versions of these foods.
Read more about our ingredient sourcing practices here.
We implement environmentally friendly practices in our shipping process as well, using biodegradable coolers and ice packs in the summer months.
We have said goodbye to styrofoam and during warmer months, we ship exclusively in environmentally friendly insulated coolers. The outer cardboard boxes are recyclable, the corn-based foam insulation is compostable, and the ice packs are biodegradable,
We are really proud of this advancement in shipping packaging. We worked directly with Landaal Packaging Systems to find the perfect solution, and their Green Cell Foam® is a great fit. You can find the press release on our partnership with even more information right over here.
Local and Direct Sourcing:
We believe in supporting our community and its economy. This is why, whenever possible, we source our ingredients from local farms. If we are unable to buy locally (because, hey, we need things like chocolate and vanilla), we buy direct from farmers in other regions whose food standards match our own. We want to support “the little guys,” and we find we can obtain most of our organic ingredients right in our backyard.
We’re helping to increase bicycle traffic by partnering with Bicycle Benefits. We reward cyclists for their regular physical activity and use of non-motorized movement with discounts when they show their helmet with the Bicycle Benefits sticker. Bicycling decreases pollution, congestion, parking demand, and helps create a healthier community.