In an industry dominated by mass production and cost-cutting measures, common chocolate is not as good as it once was. But those industry practices saving multi-national corporations a few pennies here and there are also what gives Austin-based Wayward Chocolat an edge.

With their unusual focus on perfection, Wayward Chocolat’s hand-crafted treats are quickly becoming recognized as some of the finest dark chocolates in the world. And they’re doing it in a way that’s completely unique in North America. Their product is so exqusite that founder and CEO Rick Bristow told Austin.com they often get asked whether their chocolates are coated with wax, because they’re so shiny.

“We care a lot about being the highest quality chocolate place you can find,” he said. “Most Americans have never seen glossy chocolate. We’ll get asked, ‘What do you do, put wax on these to shine them up?’ No, we just have a real high quality method that we do. And we’re very proud of what we do.”

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Rick Bristow (Founder & CEO) and Don Holt (Co-Owner & COO) of Wayward Chocolat. Photo: Rebecca L. Bennett.

Wayward Chocolat blends real dark chocolate that naturally contains 70 percent cocoa solids and rich cocoa butter with organic wild rose hips and berries from Alaska. These aren’t just any berries, either: These Alaskan treasures are incredibly rich with antioxidants, and Wayward is the only chocolate company in the world with permission to use them.

From there, they temper the chocolate with scientific precision and pour it into custom-made molds, then vibrate the molds to perfect their treats’ delicate shells. Much like their berries, the machinery required to create these exquisite treats is unique — at least in North America. They purchased the equipment from Belgium, and feel certain that nobody else in the United States is using their method.

Then they mix up batches of dark chocolate ganache (whipped filling made out of chocolate and cream), adding pure organic cream, enrichments, and even more dark chocolate. Once the carefully crafted shells are ready, they’re filled with just the right amount of ganache, sealed, and finally chilled.

And here’s the kicker: Even after all that, each piece of chocolate ends up carrying only 80 calories. No sugar is added during the process.

Like the wayward traveler, the founders of Wayward Chocolat have traveled the world seeking only the best for their customers: The best ingredients, the best equipment, and the best process. And they’ve been working on perfecting their recipe for over 12 years.

Bristow moved to Austin from Missouri in 1995, after visiting the city and loving it. He says he wouldn’t live anywhere else and that Austin’s the perfect place to run his business. Today, he has a staff of three people and business is booming. “Austin is a wonderful place for entrepreneurs,” he said. “The whole culture supports people who try and do things. We love Austin.”

To try some of this delicious chocolate for yourself, check out WaywardChocolat.com. You may thank us later, if you don’t down an entire box in one sitting.

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Wayward Chocolat ganache chocolates and sauce. Photo: Rebecca L. Bennett.

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Featured photo: An assortment of Wayward Chocolat products. Rebecca L. Bennett.

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