When your sweet tooth starts making noise, it’s good to know that Asheville has myriad options offering swift and complete satisfaction. Consider these choice venues:
- The French Broad Chocolate Lounge downtown is one of Asheville’s standard-bearers for quality chocolates. When you visit, be sure to sample their sipping chocolates.
- Also notable is The Chocolate Fetish: About to celebrate its 30th anniversary, this downtown favorite recently received six stars and the Grand Master Chocolatier designation in a national competition sponsored by the International Chocolate Salon and Taste TV, placing it among the 17 Best Chocolatiers and Confectioners in America for 2015.
- For something a little more intimate, just up the street sits Chocolate Gems, which offers a more homespun, low-key experience. Truffles, gelato and caramels are musts, but you might also want to take the plunge and try a firecracker — an explosive little dark chocolate cone packed with dark chocolate, pop rocks and cayenne pepper.
- Karen Donatelli Cake Designs downtown garners rave reviews for its delicious (and beautiful) European pastries, tarts, cookies, minidesserts and, of course, cakes — including tiramisu, raspberry Chambord, pineapple mandarin and more.
- If you scream for ice cream, consider The Hop, a reboot of what’s been a classic Asheville staple since the ’50s, churning up excellent handmade ice cream. Whether you favor the standard flavors or something crazy like blueberry-kale, The Hop provides a wide range of options, now available at three locations.
- Ultimate Ice Cream crafts small batches in mouthwatering flavors like Verry Cherry, Brown Sugar Maple and Bacon and even Black Mocha Stout. The shop sources its ingredients from local producers such as Imladris Farms and Hickory Nut Gap Farms; the goods can be found at Ultimate’s two shops and at various eateries around town.
West End Bakery and Café helped launch West Asheville’s revival, and the eatery’s enormous, pitch-perfect cinnamon rolls and changing cast of scones, cookies and pastries — made with 100 percent organic flour — keep customers coming back to its family-friendly digs.