As I unwrapped a bar of Ritual Chocolate the flash of golden foil sent my mind tumbling to Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Visually, I knew this was going to be a special, one-of-a-kind chocolate.
Robbie Stout and Anna Davies' tiny, two-person chocolate company produces just one type of single-origin chocolate. Though approximately 75 percent of the world's chocolate is made by four behemoth companies that rely on flavorings such as vanilla to enhance flavor, Ritual is made of cocoa beans and cane sugar. The process is old fashioned and simple, but not easy.
The local duo currently sources organic cocoa beans from a farm in Costa Rica. Then Stout and Davies painstakingly roast, winnow, grind, mill, smooth (or "conch"), age, temper, mold, and ultimately package their chocolate.
If you love wine or coffee, you understand the guiding principle of terroir. That sense of place applies to chocolate as well—except most chocolate has had those individual characteristics drowned out. That's the beauty of Ritual; no two batches taste exactly the same. While you might not identify the berry and walnut flavors as specific to the Costa Rican farm, you will certainly recognize Ritual as rich, full-flavored, and very special.