In this episode, we interview Jael Skeffington, one of the founders of French Broad Chocolate, a staple in Asheville for over 10 years.
Here’s What You’ll Learn in this Episode:
- The difference between their two locations: the Lounge & the Factory
- The defining moment when Jael knew she wanted to make chocolate for the rest of her life
- That time when Jael & her former husband and current business partner renovated a van and drove from Minnesota to Costa Rica
- How chocolate is made
- How FBC is bringing attention and transparency to the chocolate industry
- What to look and ask for when buying chocolate
- Two unconventional chocolate pairings that Jael recommends
Enjoyed this interview? We think you might also dig this episode with the founder of the delicious Taco Billy, Hunter Berry.
While in grad school, Jael started making truffles and bonbons for fun. It was during this process that a light clicked. At that moment, she and her partner at the time decided to revamp an RV, pick up their life in Minnesota and move to Costa Rica. From there they opened a small restaurant. Deciding to follow the suggestions of friends who encouraged their family to check out Western NC, Jael and her family made the decision to move to Asheville. She and her business partner opened French Broad Chocolates in their home and started selling at local farmers markets in 2006.
Fast forward and their farmers market stand has grown to 80 employees and includes a Chocolate Lounge & Boutique, as well as an experiential Chocolate Factory & Cafe. Her chocolates have been recognized in many national and international awards, and she was the recipient of the “Woman Up Best in Business” award in 2016. FBC believes in using business as a force for good.
- The Alchemist – by Paulo Coelho
- How to be an Anti-Racist – by Ibram X. Kendi
- Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent – by Isabel Wilkerson
- Mountain Biz Works – Where Jael signed up for a business plan writing course
- The Blind Pig Supper Club – the exclusive, not-for-profit and private organization of creative and talented individuals motivated to organize and host dinner events fusing local art and local music with the talents of local chefs
- Raaka – The raw chocolate shop in Brooklyn Jael mentioned during our conversation
- Gingers Revenge
- Strength Ratio
- Ramp Studios
- “You can’t quit, the world needs your chocolate.” – What a friend said to Jael when they were thinking about closing their at-home chocolate business
- “Chocolate is the thing that makes me happy.” – The thought that Jael had when she realized she wanted to make chocolate forever
- “Do your best, don’t be afraid of what others are doing, and that makes us all better.” – Jael
- “We believe in what we’re doing and that there is beauty and that that’s something to offer” – Jael
- “If you don’t fail you’re not trying hard enough.” – Jael
Where to Find and Follow French Broad Chocolate
FBC has two physical locations:
- French Broad Chocolate Lounge – the downtown location, cafe, decadent dessert destination
- French Broad Chocolate Factory – more about an experience and education
Follow FBC at:
Music by Commonwealth Choir