Asheville is already in a serious relationship with chocolate, as evidenced by the snaking line that so often guides an eager crowd into the arms of downtown’s French Broad Chocolate Lounge. But local chocolatier Lisa Klepzig is hoping to supplement the city’s traditional confections with a more experimental menu. Her business The Chocolate Lab recently graduated from tailgate markets and private events to a brick-and-mortar storefront in Woodfin, and it’s opening to the public on Saturday, Aug. 8.
“We were the first in Asheville to create a beer truffle,” Klepzig says. “Our original Beer City Truffles use delicious local brews — even the highly coveted Cold Mountain Ale. These have been very popular.”
Although sea salt caramels and homemade peanut butter balls are Klepzig’s best sellers, the culinary adventurer says she’s built a loyal following of patrons who are after a zanier treat.
“I’m always experimenting,” Klepzig says. “We like to give our customers what they want, and that means doing things that no one else in this town is doing with chocolate. For example, habanero chocolates and red velvet truffles both came from customers’ requests, whereas s’mores (with house-made peanut butter marshmallows) and the Elvis (a peanut butter ball with bacon and banana) were very successful experiments.”
The Chocolate Lab stocks other hand-dipped, gourmet chocolates and truffles in addition to chocolate-dipped fruits and nuts, house-made marshmallows, cherry-coconut bombs, hot chocolate and coffee. Klepzig’s been working on her recipes for 25 years and selling in Asheville for five. She got her start vending at the Montford Park Players’ productions.
“Our new location in North Asheville will give our customers a place to relax and enjoy their favorite chocolates,” Klepzig says, adding that the shop has free Wi-Fi, comfortable seating and plenty of parking. The cherry on top is the location’s shaded, outdoor seating beside a stream.
After a week of operating at the new location, the chocolatier will hold a grand-opening celebration on Saturday, Aug. 15.
“I can’t wait to see my loyal regulars and to welcome new friends to my laboratory,” Klepzig says.
The Chocolate Lab is at 2 Weaverville Road, Suite 201. Hours of operation are Monday – Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. (closed Sunday). For details, visit avl.mx/1e6 or call 774-5589.