Fleurir's unusual confections make excellent stocking stuffers and host/hostess gifts. Photographs by Erik Uecke
Husband-and-wife team Robert Ludlow and Ashley Hubbard opened Fleurir Hand Grown Chocolates this October, thanks, in part, to Ludlow’s parents, who live nearby in Virginia and provide a commissary kitchen for Ludlow’s creations (the former toque cut his chops at Le Cordon Bleu in Australia before training at Gearharts Fine Chocolates in Charlottesville). It’s a sweet story for the two chocolatiers, who went to the same high school—but don’t expect anything overly sugary from the Valrhona-chocolate-based line.
Sea salt makes its way into many of the offerings, including a rich, bittersweet hot cocoa mix (Fleurir also makes fresh marshmallows). The dark, milk, and white truffles are also far from saccharine, with original ganache fillings like lavender-Shiraz, pink peppercorn, and wattleseed-toffee, as well as more-conventional infusions such as raspberry.
Among the seven bars on sale at Fleurir, and available online, is the Christmas Bar—a dark chocolate slab infused with organic peppermint oil and cocoa nibs. Each of the other six bars is named for, and incorporates ingredients from, a different American region: The South Bar is studded with Virginia bacon and hickory-smoked caramel; the Midwest is made with Michigan cherries. Truffle boxes, which fit between two and 50 confections, can be customized in the store and online. For Ludlow’s chocolate-cloaked caramels, however, you’ll have to visit the shop. The fall lineup, currently available, features flavors like brown butter and star anise; come January, Fleurir will switch over to winter flavors like mulled wine and toasted chestnut.
Post-holiday diets be damned.