Where to taste, tour and take home Utah's world-renowned chocolate

A look inside the Beehive State's cacao boom

Written By Darby Doyle

Nicole Morgenthau
“Utah chocolate is the bomb, I’ll always use it first,” says Alexa Norlin, award-winning pastry chef and founder of local ice cream company Normal. Norlin is known to use local chocolates from Ritual, Solstice and Amano, to name a few: “They’re all really different; Utah chocolate-makers definitely bring something unique to the mix.”

Getting to the source of the full cacao story, however, can be a bit tricky. Chocolate makers are notoriously tight-lipped regarding their proprietary methods, and due to very strict food handling environments few offer facility tours on a regular basis. Want to see it for yourself? Make sure to call ahead or check company websites to see if pre-registration is required for a tour or tasting.

Here’s a brimming handful highlighting the diversity of Utah’s homegrown chocolate companies. Check out where locals, chefs and visitors go to find some of the best chocolate bars in the world, right here in the Wasatch Range.

Caputo’s Markets currently stocks 475 varieties of chocolate, and they receive upwards of 400 samples annually from chocolate companies hoping to be added to the roster.

Photo: Nicole Morgethau

If You Only Have Time for One Stop

Caputo’s Market & Deli

314 West 300 South, Salt Lake City
(801) 531-8669

Head directly to Caputo’s Market flagship store in downtown Salt Lake City, fondly referred to as “the chocolate mothership” by local chocoholics. With over 400 bars on rotation on the store’s shelves, Caputo’s crew members are some of the most knowledgeable cacao connoisseurs in the country. Can’t decide on a perfect bar? Look for the tasting counter between the cash register and deli and a Caputo’s expert will gladly walk you through a sampling of some of the world’s best single-origin bars, including most of the ones made right here in the Beehive state. Each November, Caputo’s hosts the Chocolate Festival, an international gathering of chocolate makers and consumers; it’s an event that should be on every cacao geek’s bucket list.

Utah's Chocolate Makers

Amano Artisan Chocolate


The go-to chocolate for internationally acclaimed restaurants — like the Bay Area's Chez Panisse — is made in an unmarked warehouse in Orem, Utah. As maker of one of America’s most highly acclaimed bean-to-bar chocolates, Amano Artisan Chocolate’s Art Pollard likes to keep his trade secrets a bit of a mystery in the competitive community of cacao, even while being acknowledged as one of the region’s most generous cacao mentors. One thing you can count on with Amano? Pollard’s cheerfully defiant resistance to rest on his laurels: “Chocolate is uncontrollable; I can spend a lifetime working with cacao and still be surprised,” he says. Area establishments like Communal and Block Restaurant in Provo have been known to create inspired desserts with Amano. It can also be found locally at Caputo's, Harmons Market and Whole Foods.

The Chocolate Conspiracy

774 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City
(385) 212-4474

At The Chocolate Conspiracy, AJ Wentworth makes un-roasted raw chocolate bars, truffles, smoothies, sauces and other products influenced by his nutrition background in raw food cuisine and vegetarian practices. “I wanted to make a chocolate with ethics and standards,” says Wentworth, who eschews dairy, soy, refined sugar and artificial ingredients in his recipes. While The Chocolate Conspiracy bars are sweetened with raw honey, Wentworth also makes completely vegan truffles. The cozy café and chocolate store in Salt Lake City is open Wednesday-Saturday, and is conveniently (for this intrepid imbiber) located around the corner from A. Fisher Brewing Company, which uses The Chocolate Conspiracy cacao nibs to make a rich chocolate stout. For the cacao-curious, The Chocolate Conspiracy offers a once-a-month tour of their small production facility (register through their website).

Salt Lake City's local artisan chocolates

Photo: Nicole Morgenthau

Taste Artisan Chocolate

Ritual Chocolate Bars

Photo: Austen Diamond

Millcreek Cacao Roasters

(435) 513-1769

Owners Dana Brewster and Mark DelVecchio call Millcreek Cacao Roasters a “farm-to-bar” chocolate company, working directly with cacao farmers in Ecuador and Nicaragua dedicated to using sustainable practices. In addition to making small-batch single-origin bars, Millcreek Cacao is also unique in the industry for their infused chocolate bars, which have a subtle aroma and flavor without added ingredients or inclusions. Think raspberry, blackberry, tart cherry, ginger, mint and orange. They also sell direct to consumers nibs and roasted cacao beans, a rarity in the industry. One of Millcreek’s most popular bars features 70 percent Chuno cacao from Nicaragua infused with High West Distillery’s Double Rye! Whiskey. It’s an amazing bar on its own, but I took Brewster’s suggestion and agree it’s equally delightful when layered in decadent S’more fashion as served at the High West Saloon in Park City.

Ritual Chocolate

Heber Factory & Cafe
2175 W 3000 S Suite 100, Heber
(435) 657-6920

Ritual Chocolate’s Robbie Stout and Anna Davies moved their operation from Colorado to Utah after being won over by grant money allocated for small businesses, as well as access to trails, ski runs and lifestyle. The mountains of Utah are also a great location for chocolate production, says Davies. “We don’t have to worry about triple-digit temperatures and there is no humidity,” crucial for achieving that distinctive Ritual Chocolate “snap” and spectacular gloss. “I almost exclusively use Ritual for desserts,” says Tupelo restaurant pastry chef Shirley Butler. “The flavor is amazing. Their Madagascar makes a spectacular bold ganache. It’s an animal.” At Ritual Café in Heber, try house-made chocolate served as hot or cold drinks. You’ll carry the delicious fragrance of cacao with you for the rest of the day. Food educator and chocolate expert Vanessa Chang says of Ritual, “It’s one of the best in the world. Trust me: get the Belize sipping chocolate.” (I did. She’s right.) You can also take a tour of the Ritual factory — a 30-minute, behind-the-scenes look at the production process from cacao bean to chocolate bar.

Solstice Chocolate

(801) 871-5935

So many local chefs use consistently award-winning Solstice Chocolate that it’s next to impossible to single out any one amongst the clambering fandom. Owner/chocolate maker DeAnn Wallin told me, “The problem is, there are so many that I can't possibly list them off the top of my head and would hate to leave anyone out.” One of Solstice’s biggest draws, according to pastry chefs Alexa Norlin and Amber Billingsley is Wallin’s commitment to consistency across the board, with her white chocolate having as much depth of flavor as Solstice’s darks are known for their brightness. One customer told Wallin that eating Solstice Chocolate was “like a party in her mouth,” a sentiment that I’m in vehemently nodding agreement. Many chocolatiers use Solstice, as well, including local favorite Cache Toffee, made exclusively using Solstice Chocolate and Utah cream and butter.

Taste Artisan Chocolate

117 N. University Ave., Provo
(801) 900-4061

Visiting Provo? Taste Artisan Chocolate’s European-style storefront and tasting room offers a comprehensive chocolate experience, with full tasting menus and classes available by pre-registration on Thursday through Saturday evenings (Read: A Sweet-Tooth’s Guide to Downtown Provo). Check out their afternoon tea spread, or experience a walk-in “mini-tasting” Monday through Saturday, which highlights chocolates from all over the world. Guests can also view the chocolate-making production room in action.

The Utah chocolate world has something to offer every chocolate lover. With the diversity in taste, location and makers, you are sure to find the perfect cacao treat in one of our many chocolate stores.

Be sure to book ahead for Taste’s guided tastings through chocolate, cheese, fondue, afternoon tea service and more.

Photo: Austen Diamond

Inside Taste Cafe in Provo.

Photo: Austen Diamond

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