If you’re a chocolate and pastry junkie, there is no shortage of satisfying that craving in the Asheville area. The town’s burgeoning restaurant scene continues to add new delectable venues where you can sample all manner of delicious confections and chocolate along with a shot of coffee. There are so many good choices, its impossible to write about just one. Where to begin?
My new favorite is the Old Europe Bakery in part because of its fantastic pastries and ambience, but also because of the story behind its owner, Melinda Vetro, a Hungarian immigrant who battled all manner of adversity (politics, economic downturn and even breast cancer) to make her mark on the Asheville food scene. The storefront measures no more than 16 feet wide on Broadway in downtown Asheville, and when you step in, its as if you’ve been transported to Europe. The pastries are fantastic and reasonably priced for the quality.
Another local favorite is the newly relocated French Broad Chocolate Lounge. It is here that you can savor a high dollar bit of chocolate in all shapes, sizes and textures. On a cold day, try out their “hot cocoa” which isn’t your powdery mix of hot chocolate. This stuff is served in a small cup with a spoon for eating it. That’s right, eating it not drinking it. It has the texture of warm chocolate pudding. Sit at the counter and watch the world walk by along Pack Square in downtown. Another great option is Chocolate Gems, also in downtown Asheville that serves similar offerings, only a slightly less expensive.
Finally, how can one not mention donuts/doughnuts. Having grown up in North Carolina looking for the “hot-n-now” now sign at the local Krispy Kreme, its been fun to try the new donut offerings in Asheville. These aren’t the soft, melt in your mouth sugar bombs like Krispy Kreme, but are more “craftsman” style donuts such as salted caramel with bacon, or the Mountain Man Raspberry. These can be found at Vortex Donuts of Asheville in what was once a graffiti splattered abandoned auto shop in downtown.
These are just a few places to tempt your taste buds around Asheville, so do a Google search and start your own expedition. After all, downtown Asheville is just a short 25 minute drive from the gate of Creston. Enjoy!