October 3, 2012

Ritual Chocolate – Costa Rica

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Written by: Alex Rast

Here’s another new American chocolate company, one of the exploding wave of artisan U.S. companies. Rather like so many others, only time can tell if they have mastered their craft, or indeed if they even survive, but at least they are introducing an interesting origin here to distinguish themselves. Now a very “vintage” harvest (2009) this bar offers also the interest of seeing whether “old” beans can be transformed into quality chocolate. Ritual plays somewhat coy with the origin, calling it only “one of the world’s best cacao farms”, which does veer a bit too close to unsubstantiatable market hype. But there’s something of an experimental feel here, which well captures the current spirit of U.S. chocolate-makers and is also a promising direction for the future – we can expect more bars exploring different process points, with different sources, rather than an endless parade of the familiar.

About the Author

Alex Rast
Alex Rast is a long-time chocolate experimenter, taster and part-time consultant to chocolate companies. Starting in 1990 with early experiments himself in making chocolate, he quickly moved into evaluating chocolates in commercial production and assisting other companies in improving process. Over the course of many years he has evaluated over 700 distinct chocolate bars. He is one of the earliest reviewers for SeventyPercent and has helped to define and systematise the ratings system. In addition to bar chocolate, he also experiments with chocolate baking and the formulation of "canonical" recipes for classic chocolate items.



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