Skip to main content

Road Trip: Black Mountain Chocolate in Winston-Salem, NC

Earlier this summer our friends J&C (aka Ditch Chicken) invited us to head up 1-40 to Winston-Salem, NC for a leisurely Saturday trip.

"Chocolate Factory tour and winery visit. You available?" they asked.

"Yes, please," Scott and I answered.

They picked us up in Charlotte and 90 minutes later wheeled into the parking lot of Black Mountain Chocolate. We killed a little time before our 11am-ish tour and walked around the area near Trade Street.

As a former Statesville, NC resident during my high school years, Winston-Salem was a larger city that often lured my friends and I there for shopping and restaurants. Sadly most of this occurred not in W-S's now bustling downtown but the Hanes Mall. Yes, I was a "mall rat," buying way too many cargo jeans and oversize flannel shirts and logo sweatshirts at Old Navy and the Gap (Hey, it was the mid to late '90s.) I also knew W-S from annual trips to Old Salem for Christmas shopping, a ritual with my mother that culminated in many Moravian cookie and sugar cake purchases.

So color me happy and surprised to see that Winston-Salem has public art walks and converted tobacco warehouses that are now lofts. Add chocolate factories, breweries and restaurants and it's a far-cry from the mall and "home of Krispy Kreme" and Moravian cookies that I once knew.

The Black Mountain Chocolate factory tour was fast-paced, informative and delicious. I learned never to trust Big Chocolate again - Hershey and the like only make chocolate with about 10-15 percent cacao bean (the seed of a tropical tree!), while the factory produces some types in the 50-70 percent cacao range.

Won't you take me to... Cocotown?

Thanks to a tour discount on their fair-trade, organic chocolate, we walked out with a few Cocoa Nib and Sea Salt and one Ginger-Chili Big Winston Bar. They also gifted us with a freebie for our compost pile:

One large bag of cocoa bean hulls
                                                                    Which Scott loaded into our compost bin

And now the worms in our compost bin are enjoying the chocolatey bits!

After all the chocolate-buying and touring, we enjoyed burgers and beers at Burger Batch, where a rowdy crew of Arsenal fans were watching their "football" game. Bonus points to BB for the largest order of french fries I've ever seen - sharable for sure.

Post-lunch, we rambled into the Mast Store to browe and then drove out of town to Westbend Winery and Brewery.  Having had my fill of beer earlier, I ordered sangria. It was a hot afternoon and the winery was crowded both in and outside. The beverages we all ordered, both wine and beer, were just ok, so we didn't stay long. I have heard good things about the Yadkin wine region but this wasn't a favorable experience.

But if you get the chance to visit a real-deal chocolate factory, go! Raleigh has both Escazu and Videri; Nashville claims Olive & Sinclair; and, alas, Charlotte, to my knowledge, doesn't have one.


Popular posts from this blog

Friends with Benefits: Meet EV Originals

I love that feeling when a friend accomplishes something wonderful.

Maybe because I'm a only child and thus friends often feel like family, or maybe it's just because we all need a little more raising up these days.

So when I heard that a friend from the Nashville, TN area who co-founded and operates a catering business decided to share her culinary talents with the masses and create a line of bottled products, EV Originals, I did a big ol' happy dance.

Some Like It Hot -- And Toasted on Both Sides

The latest news in appliances seems to indicate there's no love for the good ol' traditional Crock-Pot.
Fictional drama aside, the slow cooker most of us grew up with is receiving some healthy competition from the new hot thing, the Instapot
But in our house, we're having a face-off with a completely different category of kitchen appliances -- it's the Toaster vs Toaster Oven.

The Best Way to Keep Cannoli Fresh and Other Baltimore Stories

My mom and step-dad were up visiting for Thanksgiving and after gorging ourselves on turkey and the sites of D.C., I took them on a day-trip to Baltimore.

After a visit to my mom's favorite museum (she's a mosaic artist), we aimed for lunch at Rocket to Venus in Hampden. It was closed for lunch, but our trip up Charles St. wasn't for naught - we stumbled onto residents of 34th St. setting up their Christmas displays! This street is Christmas at its best, or worst, depending on your tolerance/interest in all things Christmas. Erin teases me for being a scrooge, but I have to admit, lights and what-not are nice at this cold and dark time of year.

After a brief walk through Hampden, we aimed for lunch at Kooper's Tavern in Fells Point. The tavern was most certainly open, with rowdy sports fans packing the bar and even spilling onto the sidewalk for fresh-shucked oysters. (My friend Gideon would have camped out right there for their Chincoteagues!) After some deliberati…