5 Bites: Asheville, North Carolina's Sweet Spots

This Blue Ridge city offers a variety of desserts, pastries, and chocolates
French Broad Chocolate Lounge offers a variety of chocolate desserts.

These locally owned and operated cakeries in Asheville, N.C., have achieved confection perfection that will satisfy the sweetest tooth.

Breakfast: DOUGH
The brioche-style donuts at DOUGH, Asheville’s newest bakery on the block, started off as a specialty item, but are now served Thursday through Saturday by popular demand. Flavors of note: maple bacon and raspberry-filled (with house-made raspberry jam). If the tables in the market are full, snag a seat in the classroom — you can eat in this beautiful space when it’s not being used for cooking classes, where you can learn to make your own pastries.

Mid-Morning: FILO
This hidden gem in unassuming East Asheville is a great spot to set up your mobile office and get those pesky work emails out of the way so you can play. Plenty of tables and some comfier couch seating offer a laid-back atmosphere to indulge your "un-savory" side. Skip the biscotti in favor of the kourabiedes — these crescent-shaped almond cookies are one of chef Maria Papanastasiou’s Greek-inspired specialties.

Afternoon Snack: Karen Donatelli Cake Designs & Café
Evoking the charm of a European patisserie, Karen Donatelli’s confections are as delicious on the inside as they are pretty on the outside. Don’t be intimidated by the fancy atmosphere… the staff couldn’t be more friendly and helpful. The miniature tarts make a perfect (almost guiltless) bite, washed down with a well-executed latte for a midday pick-me-up. For a larger appetite, you won’t get a better (or bigger) croissant in town. By request, they will fill your croissant with dark chocolate ganache and fresh strawberries, even drizzling more ganache on top!

Dessert: Well-Bred Bakery
Just 10 minutes north of Asheville’s downtown bustle, you can enjoy well-made sweets on the quiet Main Street stretch of Weaverville. Well-Bred Bakery serves up award-winning cupcakes and chocolate éclairs as big as your head. Split an éclair or slice of cake after dinner with friends while sipping on a cup of organic, shade-grown coffee at one of their sidewalk tables, and catch the contagious small-town mountain mentality.

After Dark: French Broad Chocolate Lounge
Chocoholics cannot come to Asheville without a stop at this bean-to-bar establishment. First-timers can’t go wrong with truffles from their Signature Collection or the salted caramels. Not a chocolate person? Their maple butter cake is pure, simple elegance with a hint of sea salt. On Friday and Saturday nights at French Broad Chocolate Lounge, you can pair your vegan pomegranate ginger truffle with a glass of organic wine or pint of local craft beer and a side of live jazz.

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