When visiting an establishment becomes more of a “soulful experience” than just a simple shopping trip, you know it’s something special. When that experience involves chocolate, in its purest and most delicious form, are there really any other words needed?
If you haven’t visited the award-winning craft chocolate makers at Black Mountain Chocolate in downtown Winston-Salem, make it part of your family’s summer agenda now! Originally inspired by the rustic town of Black Mountain—nestled in the Appalachian Mountains—and its community of craftspeople, the company relocated from Asheville to Winston-Salem in 2014 to open its first retail store with a visible factory and kitchen. For chocolate connoisseurs, that equals pure heaven as you catch a glimpse of the finest artisan chocolate around actually being made. When we say the best, we mean it, starting from organic cocoa beans and ending in the popular form of your favorite chocolate bar, which might include the Espresso Dark Chocolate bar, the Sea Salt Dark Chocolate bar, the Cocoa Nib Dark Chocolate bar, Dominican Single-Origin Dark Chocolate bar, or the Mountain Milk Chocolate bar.
Not just chocolate bars, however; there are boundless flavors of confections and pastries—think Eclairs, tarts, cookies, truffles, bonbons, and more—created from their amazing artisan chocolate in combination with other offerings from local small-batch artisans. There’s chocolate topped with gelato, gelato by the cup, and the most comforting, delectable hot and cold beverages. When these experts refer to “drinking chocolate,” they are referring to real, authentic chocolate, not powdery cocoa, perfectly prepared to be sipped and savored.
But back to the mesmerizing process: Self-guided tours are possible any time Black Mountain Chocolate is open, and you’ll enjoy a display detailing how the colorful cacao fruit becomes sinfully rich chocolate. As it turns out, all cocoa beans are not created equal. Who knew? You’ll learn the arduous task your chocolate maker goes through to give customers the very best—with, of course, all-natural ingredients. Your kids will discover chocolate was originally ground on stone slabs by hand. While chocolate makers now have many options for grinding, the traditional method is still used in a number of places. On select Saturdays, the company also offers guided tours which typically last around 45 minutes and require advance registration and a small fee (visit blackmountainchocolate.com).
While you’re there, savor the magic of Black Mountain Chocolate for yourself (tasting samples are presented at room temperature for best results), then browse their gift collections for something sweet to take home or give to a lucky friend. Create your own custom gift box, or select from the Big Winston Bar Sampler, the Drinking Chocolate Sampler, or the Ultimate BMC Sampler.
As if everything the company creates weren’t wonderful enough, each month there’s a featured brownie flavor, and for the month of June, it’s the Grasshopper Brownie Sundae. You’ll love the gluten-free, cocoa-nib brownie with a dazzling mint ganache, topped with chocolate or vanilla gelato and, of course, hot fudge. (For you chocolate novices, a chocolate nib is a chunk of the interior of a cocoa bean which must be ground to form the liquid chocolate.)
See what the sweetness is all about by visiting and touring Black Mountain Chocolate at 732 N. Trade Street in Winston-Salem. For more information on tours for larger groups, call 336-293-4698, visit Blackmountainchocolate.com for general information and retail partners, and follow BMC on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Retail hours are Tuesday–Friday, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm (closed on Monday); Saturday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm; and Sunday, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.