It thrills me that there are people out there who are experts in chocolate.
I suppose you could be an expert in anything. You could be an expert in Lima beans. Or in toast. Or plain white rice.
But chocolate is just so much sexier.
And since I got a tour of Ritual Chocolate‘s facilities with its owners, I feel like I am just a little bit closer to being a chocolate expert.
Just as with wine, coffee, even olive oil, chocolate’s taste changes with the season, the region in which it’s grown, the variety of the plant, even the terroir of the soil. Anna and Robbie, the owners of Ritual Chocolate, truly understand everything that goes into their chocolate because they are involved in the entire process of making their chocolates—from meeting the farmers and buying the beans in Costa Rica, to roasting, milling and aging their chocolate.
The bars and wafers they make are about as pure and unadulterated as one can possibly get. Unlike chocolatiers whose process might begin with untempered chocolate and continue through the creation of truffles or other confections, Anna and Robbie want to control every step of the creation of their craft chocolate.
The same way a master coffee roaster or beer brewer might tinker with the process, testing and refining at every step of the way, so these two work with their vintage equipment to create their vision of perfection solidified in a chocolate bar. And the same way that a wine aficionado can taste the many notes in a single sip of wine, so these chocolate lovers can find the notes in their own chocolate and work to bring out what they like and eliminate what they don’t.
Don’t be surprised if you are asked to pay a dollar or more for a single wafer of ritual chocolate, or as much as eight or nine dollars for a whole bar; it will be worth it and last you quite a while. This is chocolate meant to be savored, not scarfed. And it might just be the antidote you need to the glut of cheap candy and heavy desserts you’ll encounter at various holidays this season. Pull this out with your espresso at the end of a fine meal, and your guests will thank you for focusing on quality rather than quantity.
Ritual Chocolate is available at several local shops in Boulder and Niwot, including Cured and Piece, Love and Chocolate, or you can buy online.
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