Tucked away on Highway 71 on your way to Spicewood, about half way between Bee Creek Road and Pedernales Canyon Road, sits a small building. Inside a large, white, sterile room, pure, dark chocolate magic comes to life.
Assembled by equipment from Germany and France; from ingredients gathered from Alaska and Europe; created by Austin artisans; according to a top secret recipe by a student of an world-acclaimed chocolate guru… Wayward Chocolate is made.
Each piece is an epic achievement of processes, ingredients and ideas collected from far-flung corners the world and culminating in fateful perfection. However, you’d never say Wayward Chocolat aimlessly found its home here… It was no accident.
For the last eleven years Rick Bristow – chocolatier extraordinaire — has relentlessly pursued every little wild blueberry-sourced antioxidant; the design of each stainless steel wonder of culinary precision engineering; and tested endless variations of the process that results in chocolate so shiny you can practically see your reflection in it.
As soon as the rich chocolate treasure is sealed inside its pristine brown box (that actually clips shut with a hidden magnet), it makes its way into some new fan’s heart.
Those wayward little chocolates!
I expected more of a story on the entrepreneur’s journey, since I’d read about Bristow and his “world’s finest” chocolate mission as far back as 2004. Yet, while our discussion followed the chocolatier’s drive toward developing the perfect chocolate, he never talked about himself.
“It’s about the chocolate,” he said, declining a piece when as offered me one. (Rick Bristow doesn’t eat chocolate.) I raised an eyebrow and took a bite.
Now, I don’t always hug my interviewees…
How does it taste? Well, you may have to sit down. Or, like I did, bring it home and hide it in the gun safe. To the untrained eye, it almost looks like candy.
One bite of Wayward Chocolate is to fall for it hard. I’m talking tripped up, swooning, crippling love. (For my bubba brothers in Spicewood, you say it, “Shock-o-Laaah,” emphasis on the first and last syllables…and you will say it.)
Want to experience planet earth’s cocoa bean’s highest calling and delight your sweetheart all in one fell swoop? Pass the Shell Station and start looking to your right. Next week Bristow promised a Valentine’s sign alerting you to the correct turn-in. For now, you’ll have to find it the same way this wayward traveler did… GPS and divine grace.
Wayward Chocolat is located at 21300 Highway 71 West, Suite 300, Austin, Texas 78669 and can be purchased at various local retailers, like Magpie.