Ritual Chocolate creates exceptional bean-to-bar chocolate—and they do it while maintaining a commitment to the best quality cacao, a small-batch creation process, and the environment.
Shortly after Robbie Stout and Anna Davies met in Boulder, Colorado they started talking about opening a business together. Their decision to focus on chocolate stemmed from a string of dining experiences that showcased delicious food but disappointing chocolate desserts. Davies explains, “[The] chocolate was always lackluster, poor quality, and the ingredients weren’t good.” This led the duo to ask themselves: What would it take to get good quality cacao and secure environmental transparency?
Stout and Davies started Ritual Chocolate with this vision at the forefront; making a point to source the highest quality cacao beans available. “We want to make sure that the cacao bean is socially responsible,” says Davies. “That the farmers have a good life, they are getting a fair business relationship, which fits with the company’s dedication to social responsibility.
“We want the best-case scenario possible. Farmers are growing the best cacao they can, processing it, and being rewarded. And in return, our customers are tasting a better product,” says Stout. Davies explains that they “have a responsibility with the beans we are sourcing to create an amazing product.”
With cacao quality one of Ritual Chocolate’s core values, they utilize a bean-to-bar process that requires more work, but delivers an incredible product.
When the fermented cacao beans arrive, they are “lightly and delicately roasted, which makes the cacao taste better and loosens the shell,” says Stout. With the shells removed, the cacao beans are broken down into nibs and the nibs are combined with organic sugar in a stone mixer before being refined in a 1950s three roll mill. To make the chocolate ultra-smooth, it’s ground nonstop for three days in a Swiss conche that was manufactured in 1915. Finally, the bars are molded, cooled, and packaged by hand.
“We use a slower method because we feel that the flavor and texture is best that way,” says Davies.
Ritual Chocolate’s values extend beyond taste and a commitment to honest business relationships. Stout and Davies chose the chocolate business for environmental reasons.
“Cacao is great for the environment. For it to thrive, it needs to be in a rainforest setting,” explains Davies. This means that almost every cacao farm Ritual Chocolate works with is a mini ecological preserve. Stout notes, “Of all the foods that we can make money from, I feel good about cacao. I know that cacao farms are a habitat for lots of wildlife.”
This commitment to the environment extends to their packaging; the pouch that holds the chocolate bar is compostable and the cardboard wrapper
is recyclable. Davies reflects, “We have built this business based on thousands of teeny steps. We can look back now and be proud.”