FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why is sustainable operation important to the industry?
Chocolate is an agricultural product that doesn’t do well under “factory farming” conditions. Cacao grows best when the forest is healthy ie. biodiversity, healthy soil, thriving insect population, etc. Cacao is also a very delicate species and struggles to produce fruit when conditions aren’t just right. So if we aren’t directly doing our part to lessen our negative impact on the planet then we are hurting the future of cacao.
Who are the people behind Ritual?
Ritual Chocolate was founded by a couple, Anna Davies and Robbie Stout. Robbie and Anna met each other in 2008, fell in love, and then in early 2009 decided to start a chocolate company together. For the first four years of the business, Robbie and Anna were responsible for all of the making, molding, wrapping, shipping, marketing, etc. Today, they are still highly involved but now have help with many aspects of the business. Most of the employees at Ritual Chocolate are very “outdoorsy.” This is all part of living in Park City. We’re also highly interested in fine foods. Some of us are homebrewers, some of us are bakers—but as a whole we’re all foodies.
What influenced the creation of Ritual Chocolate?
Back in 2009, we discovered the concept of “fine chocolate” but it wasn’t really available yet in Colorado, which is where we founded the business. We loved wine, cheese, coffee, and all of the foods influenced by terroir and we realized that chocolate also shared the potential to be extra fine and influenced by terroir, but we couldn’t find it where we lived. So we decided to start studying, experimenting, and even travelled to Costa Rica and Panama to visit some cacao farms. We officially started the company in 2010 (selling bars at small markets and to friends), but we began researching in 2009 and we launched our first bars for wholesale in the Fall of 2011.
What should we know about the brand?
One of our mottos is “Improving the quality of life through chocolate.” Our vision at Ritual Chocolate is about achieving excellence. We endeavor to craft chocolate that is the ultimate expression of the exceptional terroir of our single origin cacao beans. Using vintage chocolate equipment we blend traditional European methods with a modern American style. Our passion is to revive chocolate as a luxury item that can be appreciated for its enjoyable, complex flavor—like that of a fine wine.
How are Ritual ingredients sourced?
We like to make sure that our growers are receiving compensation for their cacao that is far above the world price. We also believe in rewarding quality. Cacao has traditionally been traded as a commodity, where weight is the only factor and quality is not taken into consideration. The only way to improve quality is to reward between quality by paying more. We also try to only source from farms that practice organic methods or whom are certified organic.
Tell us about the package design.
When we re-designed our packaging last year, we were looking for a design that was representative of our brand. Our old packaging was very nice, but it didn’t communicate all of the details of our brand. We spent two years trying to communicate what our brand is all about and we were finally able to find a design company that could help us show that. Inside the packaging there are three flaps: 1. “Farm Flap” about the origin and flavor; 2. “Lifestyle Flap” Our location in the mountains of Utah; 3. “Factory Flap” This one is just a quick shout out to our old equipment and unique process.
How can we learn more about chocolate?
Anyone who wants to learn needs to do it intentionally. Just eating fine chocolate isn’t enough. We recommend eating with intention. For example, if you wanted to find out how process influences the quality of a chocolate, taste 5-10 different chocolates made from the same origin, and before tasting try to write down the specific machines used to make each one. Or, if you want to see how roast affects flavor, buy chocolate of the same origin, same percentage, and same conche/refining process and then see how different the flavor of each chocolate are.
What makes your products unique?
Most of our chocolate is made up of just two ingredients: cacao and cane sugar. Our focus is on single origin dark chocolate. We choose to highlight the flavors that are a result of the terroir of the origins from which we buy. We like to say that our specialty is in finding good cacao and taking it through the best process possible—rather than being experts in recipe creation and food science, we are experts in chocolate processing. Our single origin bars are our most sophisticated products, and our Mid Mountain blend is a amazing too. The Nib Bar, Novo Coffee, and Fleur de Sel bars are all great and taste good not just because of the added flavors, but because of the great chocolate that they’re made with
How hands-on is your process?
For us, small batch and artisan (craft) means that we are hands-on with the whole process from start to finish. This means that we make individual batches.
Tell us about the cafe inside the factory.
Nestled in the main factory location is the Ritual cafe. All of our chocolate bars are available in the cafe, and while you sample each bar, our talented baristas strive to compliment your experience with delicious beverages.
Ingredients vs. Tasting Notes
Some of our chocolate contains just cacao and cane sugar and some of our chocolate also contains additional cocoa butter. Our packaging lists the tasting notes for each bar, not to be mistaken with the actual ingredients. Next time you taste Ritual Chocolate think about what tasting notes you pick up.
Is Ritual Chocolate gluten free and vegan?
Yes! Ritual Chocolate gluten free and all of our bars except for the S'mores Bar and Honeycomb Toffee Bar are vegan.