Eighteen of Utah Valley’s most discerning chocolate buyers and connoisseurs were recently treated to an array of rich, dark chocolate samples during a VIP tasting event. Three of those chocolate bars mark a delicious new partnership between Taste Artisan Chocolate and Explore Utah Valley.

The chocolatiers at Taste have created three new chocolate bars inspired by Explore Utah Valley’s vintage travel posters and infused with ingredients found and crafted in Utah County, including tart cherries and local honey. Set to be released Friday, the initial trio of chocolate bars feature Mount Timpanogos, downtown Provo and the Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork.

“Honey, like chocolate, can have a variety of different flavors,” said Grant Fry, Taste business development manager. Inspired by the wildflowers that grow along the trails of Mount Timpanogos, the honeycomb featured in the Timp bar reflects the essence of those flowers. After tasting dozens of different locally made honey, “the honey at Rocky Top Farms best accentuates those wildflowers,” he said.

Effectively capturing the feeling of downtown Provo, “a special, condensed area where everything has a place and purpose,” Paul Cayton, Taste director of sales, explained how the Taste team was inspired by the fireworks on the Historic Provo travel poster. Chocolatiers chose to include the zing of tart cherries from Payson Fruit Growers to add a flavor explosion to the Dominican dark chocolate.

While not directly sourced from Utah Valley, the flavor inspiration for the Radha Krishna Temple chocolate bar was gleaned from the spices found at the temple’s popular vegetarian buffet. This Piura chocolate bar is infused with cardamom and cinnamon and features a layer of toasted almonds and coconut.

Reactions to the trio of chocolate bars from the tasters and chocolate buyers were, much to the delight of the Taste chocolatiers, filled with lip-smacking “mmmms” and “ohhhs” as fudge and candy buyers from Brigham Young University, Utah Valley University President Astrid Tuminez and representatives from Thanksgiving Point and the Downtown Provo Alliance each inquired about placing orders for the artistically packaged chocolate bars.

The collaboration on the chocolate bars began earlier this year just as the COVID-19 pandemic began to greatly impact and force some closures of Utah Valley businesses and attractions.

“To be able to share and collaborate with Taste Artisan Chocolate during COVID has increased an awareness of businesses within the community and inspired a new partnership,” said Charlene Christensen, Explore Utah Valley’s director of marketing and services, in a media release. “Anything we can do to help keep doors open, we get excited about.”

The Explore Utah Valley chocolate bars — available in a mini, three-bar flight or individual larger bars, will be available at Taste beginning Friday. Pre-orders also can be purchased through Taste at taste-chocolate.com or https://taste-chocolate.com/collections/explore-utah-valley-collection/.