Yes, it’s ice cream weather — and French Broad Chocolate (FBC) has added to summer enjoyment with the opening of Cookies & Creamery at 21 Buxton Ave., in Asheville.
The FBC creamery now occupies the company’s original chocolate factory, in the heart of Asheville’s South Slope brewery district. Happily, the creamery offers a family-friendly spot to enjoy the simple pleasures of made-from-scratch ice cream and other sweet delights.
Owned by French Broad Chocolate co-founders, Jael and Dan Rattigan, the creamery is their latest addition to the Asheville culinary scene. The Rattigans relocated and expanded their artisan chocolate factory to Riverside Drive in November, 2018 and own the uber-popular Chocolate Lounge on Pack Square in downtown Asheville.
Cookie & Creamery vision
The Rattigans’ vision is that Cookies & Creamery is a “family-friendly spot,” offering an additional venue for locals and tourists to “indulge in comfort desserts, house-made ice cream, sundaes, liquid truffles, and the bars and bonbons French Broad Chocolate is known for.”
FBC Cookies & Creamery celebrated its grand opening June 8, in a space full of whimsical pastels, complete with a fanciful exterior mural.
The mural on the building’s side represents three ice cream flavors — strawberry, vanilla (orchids) and cacao (chocolate) — which compose the popular flavors of Neapolitan ice cream. The mural was created by Dan’s sister and artist, Jen Rattigan, who also painted some of the artwork at the new chocolate factory.
The creamery interior pastel blue walls are a nod to one of the FBC’s packaging colors (the other being chocolate brown). Throughout are pops of pastel colors, making the creamery a vision of coolness in the summer heat.
The strawberry wallpaper comes from Jael Rattigan’s remembrance of her childhood home in Minnesota, which had strawberry wall paper in the kitchen.
“I woke up from a dream remembering that strawberry wallpaper — and knew I had to have it for the creamery,” Jael said. “We went to a web site that offers custom wallpaper designed by artists, and found one that matched my dream.”
There is something for everyone to enjoy at FBC’s Cookies & Creamery. The ‘flavor of the summer’ seems to be strawberry, Jael said.
The ice cream is made at the FBC creamery, crafted with local strawberries. Cookies & Creamery purchases local dairy from Farm to Home Milk, in addition to sourcing local berries, herbs and other ingredients FBC uses to hand-make ice cream, confections and desserts.
Head pastry chef, Beth Kellerhals, who joined French Broad Chocolate family in January, designed a menu to delight both children and adults. Venture beyond traditional flavors to try luscious flavors such as: roasted banana with sour cream; biscuits and jam swirl; or a savory, sweet thyme-blueberry jam creation.
“The biscuits and jam swirl ice cream is quintessentially Southern,” Jael said. “It’s comforting — and so lovely.”
Kellerhals, who earned an Art de le Patisserie at The French Pastry School in Chicago and created many notable desserts while working in Los Angeles, is experimenting with savory-sweet flavors at FBC. Expect more taste treats from Kellerhals and her crew during the summer.
All ages welcome
Beer, hard cider and wine are served at the creamery — after all, it is in the South Slope brewery district. Adults may enjoy a wine or beer float. By the way, Pisgah Brewing’s nitro stout, served at the creamery, pairs very well in a beer float.
“We want everybody to be happy,” Jael said. “Come with the kids, drop off your teens or come on your own for a break while exploring the brewery district.”
There were several multi-generational families at the June 8 grand opening.
The Rattigans’ children were on hand during the celebration, leading children’s craft activities.
“Our kids feel so proud to be a part of this business,” Jael said.
A FBC ‘frequent scoop’ punch card is available for getting the 10th scoop of ice cream free.
The creamery also has a small retail selection, complete with an array of French Broad Chocolate bars, confections, baking supplies and gifts.
Upstairs is a small room, suitable for birthday parties and small gatherings. Luscious hand-made cakes from the downtown Chocolate Lounge can be delivered to the creamery for special occasions.
The Rattigans have more ideas for activities at the creamery and are looking into ‘kids’ karaoke,’ a Sunday ‘brunch,’ including mimosa floats, and game nights.
Part of the FBC family
Cookies & Creamery is open seven days a week, but unlike the chocolate factory, it does not offer tours.
Anyone interested in how FBC’s artisan chocolate is sourced and made, ‘bean-to-bar,’ is encouraged to visit the FBC Chocolate Factory at 821 Riverside Dr., Ste. 199, at the north end of Asheville’s River Arts District.Factory tours are offered seven days a week. Visit www.frenchbroadchocolates.comor call 828-348-5169 for tour information.
The French Broad Chocolate Cookies and Creamery is at 21 Buxton Ave.; call 828-348-5323.
The FBC Chocolate Factory is at 821 Riverside Dr., and the FBC Chocolate Lounge and Boutique is at 10 South Pack Square, all three in Asheville.
French Broad Chocolate is proud to embrace “a business model which equally weighs people, planet, and profits as measures of success.Through intentional sourcing and business practices, French Broad Chocolate works hard to make a positive impact on the communities, both globally and at home here in Asheville.”