Monday, August 15, 2011
From now on, head over to www.ritualchocolate.com for news and information about Ritual Chocolate.
I'll keep this open to the public for about another month and then I'm going to pull the plug completely on our old Blogger home.
Thanks for visiting.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
For the time being, you can find small pieces of our 75% Costa Rican origin chocolate at Saxy's Cafe on 10th and Pearl in Boulder. The idea here is to appreciate a small piece of our chocolate along with a cup of hot tea or coffee. Remember, we're only using two ingredients, cocoa beans and cane sugar, both of which are organic and Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance. That means no emulsifiers, such as soy lecithin. No additional cocoa butter. And no flavor enhancers such as vanilla or salt.
Why no flavor enhancers? Would you spice a fine wine, beer or coffee? Flavored coffees became uncool years ago... Our goal is to share the flavor of the bean in as direct a manner as possible so that you can recognize the uniqueness of a particular region, genetic type, sun-drying method and of course, our process. We do however, condone pairing our chocolate with other sophisticated flavors such as whiskey, salt, wine, tea, etc. (And if you're a Boulder food business owner and you'd like to arrange a pairing event, let us know!)
Co-founder, Robbie, is a barista at Saxy's Cafe so he has been able to walk customers through the tasting process. So far, the feedback has been very positive. Our most common, and favorite review, of our chocolate is that the flavor continues to evolve throughout the tasting. It begins with a subtle chocolatey flavor, then after about 25 seconds the high notes begin to appear in the form of floral, berry and even mushroom flavors. Minutes later, after all the chocolate has melted, it continues to linger on your tongue in a more delicate yet enjoyable state.
Anyway, I just wanted to stop by the ol' blog to let you know that we're still headed in the right direction. Things aren't easy but we're on the path to launch shortly.
If you'd like to follow our progress more closely, I'd recommend liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter.
Friday, January 7, 2011
Sunday, November 7, 2010
As it turns out, running a waffle stand on the weekends is a lot of work, but it's also fun, rewarding, educational and we get to meet a lot of cool people that we probably wouldn't meet otherwise.
First of all, a big thank you goes out to all the race promoters that have helped us to be a part of their events. And secondly, thank you to all who have visited our waffle stand and walked away with a waffle. And thirdly, a special thanks to those who have gone the extra mile to support us in the online world through tweets, photos, tags, blogs and likes.
Coming up next weekend is the U.S. Gran Prix of Cyclocross in Fort Collins. As with the NACT series that passed through last weekend, this is one of the premiere events of American cyclocross. It's the first year that the USGP will pass through Fort Collins so it's hard to know what to expect in terms of spectator turn out. Our guess is that it is going to be huge! Especially since New Belgium is one of the title sponsors. We'll be setting up our waffle stand and we're working directly with the director, Rob Noble, to find the ideal placement, whether it's on the course or in the expo. Our vision is to be on course, with the fans, with the beer garden and truly part of the race experience.
Remaining Waffle Stand Schedule
- November 13th: USGP of Cyclocross in Fort Collins, Colorado
- November 14th: USGP of Cyclocross in Fort Collins, Colorado
- November 20th: Alpha Cross #2 in Centennial, Colorado
- November 21st: CycloX in Longmont/Boulder, Colorado
- November 27th: GMSV #2- Lookout Cross in Golden, Colorado
- November 28th: Boulder CX Series #4 in Boulder, Colorado
- December 4th: Colorado CX Championships in Boulder, Colorado
- December 5th: Colorado CX Championships in Boulder, Colorado
- December 18th: (maybe) Boulder CX Series #5, Boulder, Colorado
On the Chocolate Front
As you may or may not know, the primary inspiration behind the waffle stand is to help fund our little chocolate company. I can almost guarantee that a chocolate making company has never been started with less money than what we've got to work with, but that's ok. We're making it happen. The waffle stand is going well and we've been able to pay off all of our waffle start up costs, but that's left us without much time to make chocolate.
One of the biggest obstacles for us is the ability to purchase the ideal chocolate making equipment. Fortunately, we've had some help from Boulder County and they are helping us to purchase a larger mill and a tempering machine. Between renting various commercial kitchen spaces and working with the health department, we should have some chocolate for everyone by early 2011.
Some of our most exciting news is our first large order of cacao beans. We're not ready to disclose exactly how much or where they are from yet, so you'll just have to be patient while we keep working away.
As you have probably already figured out on your own, our blog is not the best way to stay up to date with our progress, but it ain't bad either. We recommend "liking" us on Facebook and/or following us on Twitter for the most current news. Thanks for reading and remember, good things come to those who wait.
Anna and Robbie
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Last weekend was a good one. On Saturday we were at the cyclocross race at Xilinx selling our Belgian waffles. On Sunday, we were able to spread the good word about our chocolate at the Root Sellers’ Taste of Place. Combined, those two events were a lot of work, but it was great to meet the people we did and it was good to get some honest feedback about our goods.
The Xilinx race on Saturday, September 25th was our first attempt at the cyclocross waffle stand. Despite scrambling to put together the final touches, the feedback was good and we’ll be out for more races to come. Perhaps our biggest barrier was introducing Colorado folks to the traditional Belgian waffle. It looks a bit smaller, but it’s much more dense and has a very different texture than what we know on this side of the Atlantic. For example, we don’t make a batter, it’s a yeast-risen dough that must be kneaded. It’s also very sweet, so maple syrup isn’t the best topping to add—we recommend a little dusting of powdered sugar, Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter, or just eating it straight up.
On the following day, Sunday, we attended The Root Sellers' Taste of Place, an indie food market for unlicensed food makers. While our waffles are made in a commercial kitchen and sold completely legally, our chocolate is still in its development phase. In fact, part of the reason that we decided to make waffles in the first place was to help lift our chocolate company off the ground. The Taste of Place was great. We were able to educate a lot of people about the chocolate making process and we met some that were already quasi-experts. For those that went home with a bar, we'd love to hear some feedback.
Of course, there is never a quiet moment these days. This week, we've been planning future 'cross races for our waffle stand and finished processing a large batch of our sun dried, Guapiles, Costa Rica batch. This batch should be even better than our last because we tried doing something a littler differently during our milling phase.
This weekend, well be at both days of the Frisco 'cross race with our waffle stand. With Fall in the air and the aspens changing color, it should be a beautiful weekend. See you there.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Taste of Place: A Boulder Artisan Food Market
When: Sunday, September 26, 2010 from 11:00am to 2:00pm.
Where: 3280 Valmont St. in Boulder
Come to the market! Get all the details on the Taste of Place page!
Do you make yummy things at home? Sign up to be a vendor on the Vendors page!
A few weeks back, a friend of ours emailed a listing she found on Craigslist about an artisanal, amateur food event in the works in Boulder. We thought it looked pretty cool and perhaps a good way to begin building a following for our chocolate, so we signed up as a vendor.
Stop by if you get a chance. We'll have our newest chocolate made with sun dried beans from Costa Rica in stock.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
You deserve an update about what's happening with Ritual Chocolate. Sorry that it has been so long! We've been slacking, hard, with the Ritual blog.
Most importantly, we are still going to produce chocolate and we are still on our way to becoming a "real" business. In fact, we just made our first "large" purchase of beans, 1,200 pounds! Most big manufacturers would scoff at such a feeble amount, but we're not a big manufacturer.
Technically we're already a business, actually, an LLC, but we're not "in business" yet. We've got some very exciting plans for the Fall. We're not quite ready to reveal what they are but we'll make our grand announcement in the coming weeks. Hint: It involves Belgium.
Honestly, one of the biggest speed bumps in this last year has been a stubborn broken foot. Robbie's left foot, actually. He broke it in August 2009 and things were looking good for awhile, but that trip we took to Costa Rica was a major set back in the healing process. After the trip he put his big black walking boot back on and it wasn't until the end of June 2010 that it came off. During this time, getting back on our feet, literally, was the most important goal and we set the business planning aside. With no exact recovery date known, it was hard to imagine running around a factory on one leg.
Now, the foot is getting better. We're speaking with local commercial kitchens that may allow us to produce our chocolate in their facilities. We've got beans! And we've got a plan that begins at the end of this month to begin "doing business." As soon as our chocolate is ready to be sold (legally), you will be the first to know. We can't wait for you to give it a try.