When I first picked up this bar at For the Love of Chocolate in Richmond, VA, I didn’t recognize the name at all and I thought they were a brand new chocolate maker based out of Lynchburg, VA. I had completely forgotten that they used to be called Cao Artisan Chocolate and they experienced a name change due to some shop in Florida already having claimed the same name.

If you want to learn more about Altus Chocolate’s beginnings, head to my first time trying their chocolate when a dear friend gave me a box of their chocolate with a helpful flavor guide. Since their website has been revamped, I’ve now learned that Altus can use honey, dates and maple syrup as natural sweeteners in their chocolate. I’ve heard of honey and syrup being used in place of cane sugar, but not dates!

I’m glad to see that Virginia is slowly gaining more craft/bean-t0-bar chocolate makers. We have Potomac Chocolate, Upchurch and Altus to date. And Altus now has a second location in Roanoke, VA! I hope to some day go to an Altus store in person and experience their lounge.

The interior of the packaging mentions that Altus uses dates, honey and maple when possible as sweeteners rather than just cane sugar. 

Description for what the name “Altus” means.

The front of the packaging lists the flavor of the bar as “light bright fruity notes of mango, peach and lemon with a gentle sweetness like wildflower honey”. The bar definitely smelled fruity. The initial flavor was slightly astringent with honey and bright fruity notes. I mostly taste mango and a touch of citrus, that lemon flavor mentioned in the description. My bite finished with not only bright fruitiness and the sweetness of honey, but nuttiness. A coworker tried this bar with me and said they definitely tasted citrus/lemon but that the texture seemed powdery to them. Personally I didn’t find the bar powdery but it had a fine gritty texture.

The same coworker also commented that the bar didn’t taste “dark”! This is something I’ve been gradually working on with some of my coworkers, especially those who think all dark chocolate is bitter. I’m hoping to pick up more Altus bars next time I stop at For the Love of Chocolate. Or maybe I’ll just have to take a trip to Lynchburg and visit one of their stores.

Altus Chocolate: Made in Lynchburg, VA