Food & Drink

Chocolate Elevated

Ritual crafts small-batch bars and sips with altitude.

By Virginia Rainey December 11, 2019 Published in the Winter/Spring 2020 issue of Park City Magazine

Epicurean experts at Saveur and Food & Wine recently deemed Utah the craft chocolate capital of America—a source of chocolate bars as nuanced and driven by terroir as any fine wine. 

Image: Steven Vargo

At an elevation of 7,000 feet, the air in Park City is exceptionally dry—and for about nine months of the year, it ranges from downright cold to pleasantly chilly—conditions that bode well for Ritual Chocolate, one of Utah’s top small-batch, bean-to-bar chocolate makers since 2015 (the company was founded in Colorado in 2010).

Image: Steven Vargo

Though their chocolate factory and sweet café occupy a tiny footprint on Iron Horse Drive, Ritual founders Anna Davies and Robbie Stout’s reach is far and wide. The couple sources only Fair Trade, fine cacao beans from farmers in half a dozen countries, from Madagascar to Belize. The old-school machinery that makes their hands-on, six-step chocolate-making process possible comes from Switzerland and Brooklyn, and they recently bought a new grinding mill from Italy.

The couple started out as purists—adding nothing but organic sugar to their single-origin bars—but over the years they’ve introduced a range of tempting additions, including a new line of Utah-themed blends, such as a pine nut bar, juniper lavender, and honeycomb toffee, each a gorgeous expression of its components. As affordable luxuries go—bars range from about $9 to $15—Ritual delivers on all counts, including exquisite packaging that envelops each bar in a different foil-stamped, embossed origami-like cocoon.

Image: Steven Vargo

Sipping chocolates are also part of the couple’s repertoire, and they’ve created a selection of über-rich versions (a four-ounce glass equals an entire chocolate bar) that includes all of their single-origin creations. Truly, there may be no more comforting pastime on a bitter cold winter day than enjoying a steaming cup of chocolate and an order of buttered toast while taking in the aromas that swirl about Ritual’s café.

Image: Steven Vargo

You can also find Ritual bars and drinking chocolates at Park City’s Whole Foods, The Market at Park City, and in stores around the country, but if you’d rather be assured of a steady supply, there’s a monthly Ritual Chocolate Club subscription that, according to Stout, “is always a surprise.”

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