Some chocolates I'm surprised that I have never had before. Ritual Chocolates looks familiar in some way and yet this appears to be my first encounter with them. Perhaps they just remind me of Original Beans. The color scheme of matte purple with silver accents and the style that straddles the line between classy and trendy very much puts in mind Original Beans from back when.
This is one of those card boxes that opens up in a unique way and showcases some info about the chocolate on the inside. Ritual Chocolates is based out of Utah, but the Nacional cocoa they've used for this bar comes from the Maranon River valley in Peru. Tearing open the sealed package inside releases a strong chocolate scent, what I want to call a very blended scent. The type of scent in which you can already imagine that the texture is going to be extremely smooth, like it's been conched for a long time. Mainly a sweet scent if you had to call it something, but with a hint of bitterness when you breathe in deeply.
On the tongue, a zing develops that is a flavor more than it is bitterness but is in actuality bitterness, set against a bed of sweet-edged chocolate. So it's a full taste experience, the tang with the sweet to form the chocolate flavor. The tasting notes are floral, herbal, toasted peanuts, and stone fruit. I considered calling the chocolate smoky but wasn't sure if that was quite right. And I'd wanted to say tangy but thought that it wasn't fruity or citrusy. So yeah, those notes sound about right.
The chocolate leaves an almost bitter aftertaste. That is, it isn't exactly bitter but neither is it that rich, red aftertaste that chocolate sometimes gives. This is loftier.
So there is plenty of flavor development going on here, plenty that they have coaxed out of the cocoa beans. Which is wonderful: it's been a while since I've had chocolate like this. Reminds me of how I keep posting about Star Wars books, so I was thrilled to read a Willa Cather book for a change (a change, no less, to more the type of thing I used to solely read). I've reviewed some good chocolate lately, but I've also been looking at plenty of mediocre or middle range quality level chocolate. So it's nice to get a reminder of the other type of chocolate, artisan chocolate.
Unfortunately, this chocolate was a gift from someone who'd been traveling out of state. That means I'm unlikely to come across more Ritual Chocolate anytime soon. If I ever do, though, I'll definitely want to try some more of their chocolate.