Based in Utah, Ritual have gathered a considerable following in the States, but until now they haven’t been available this side of the Pond. Finally after long discussion (and more than a little begging on our side) we are delighted to welcome Ritual to the UK.
We love Ritual’s simple but expert approach to craft chocolate. All its bars are made with just two ingredients: cocoa beans and a little sugar. Rather than experimenting with wacky flavourings it focuses exclusively, even obsessively on the beans.
Ritual’s Peru Maranon perfectly illustrates this dedication. In 2010 Anna and Robbie tried a test batch of chocolate made from the recently rediscovered Maranon cacao bean. The pair describe it as ‘the best chocolate we had ever tried, by a landslide’ and they knew they had to make chocolate using those beans.
Anna and Robbie contacted to the Pearson family who had rediscovered the bean and were trying to improve the yield. They sent them letters samples of their chocolate, and after three years of begging and pleading the pair were finally able to buy some of their beans. Ritual was the chocolate maker to get hold of some the rare heirloom cacao. Today there are around 20 makers who use the Maranon beans (and the waiting list for them is far longer).
From making chocolate in their apartment, the pair have transformed Ritual into one of the best know craft makers in the US, with around 15 employees. In early 2015 they opened their own factory in Park City, Utah. As well as enjoying their chocolate and a cup of Pink Elephant coffee in their café, Ritual do regular factory tours, allowing you to take a peek behind the scenes.
For Anna and Robbie, making chocolate is about more than just crafting delicious bars. For them it’s about all round quality of life. Says Anna ‘We make chocolate to improve the quality of life for everyone involved—all the way from the growers to the customers. We’re happy to pay high cacao prices if that means our growers can improve their quality of life. We want to make sure we’re not adding to the destruction of our planet along the way as well. The quality of all life is important to us, not just human life. As for chocolate making itself, we set our standards painfully high because we want to make sure our chocolate is as good as it can possibly be.’ And the better the chocolate, the happier we the customers will be.