This week, our Exotic Bar Armoire Spotlight shines upon the amazing products from another awe-inspiring American small batch bean-to-bar chocolate company, Askinosie Chocolates of Springfield, Missouri. The passionate founder of this company, Shawn Askinosie, was a successful and acclaimed criminal defense lawyer before he began manufacturing chocolate. His first bars were produced in 2007 and he hasn’t stopped mesmerizing us ever since!
Askinosie Chocolate works directly with cocoa farmers in Tanzania, Philippines, Ecuador, and Honduras. They are the first small-batch chocolate maker to press and make their own cocoa butter in their factory. The chocolate making process takes days in the company’s 85-year old German melanguer (mixer). Though Askinosie’s bean suppliers are not certified organic (the farmers cannot afford the cost of certification), they do not use chemicals or pesticides.
The Askinosie Chocolate mission is “to serve their farmers, their neighborhood, their customers and each other and to share the Askinosie chocolate experience by leaving the world a better place then they found it”, and that statement is reflected in everything they do. One example of this commitment is Shawn’s creation of his Chocolate University to help benefit the children of his Springfield neighborhood. The goal of this project is to inspire these children, many of whom are homeless, about social entrepreneurship, and a world beyond their own. Within this program, Shawn has mentored many Springfield high school kids and created an 18-month cooperative learning project. This project included a field-trip-of-a-lifetime whereby these kids went to a remote village Tanzania to work side-by-side with “Mama Kyeja”, the leader of a woman’s cacao farmer group. These students not only learned first-hand about the cultivation and harvest of cacao, but they also helped to raise the funds to install a well in the village of Tenende to help bring fresh, clean water to over 2,000 people.
We are so very proud to carry the following Askinosie products:
Roasted Tanzanian Cacao Nibs
Davao non-deodorized White Chocolate bar (34% cocoa butter)
Davao Dark Milk + Fleur de Sel bar (made with goat’s milk) (62%)
Davao 77% Dark Chocolate bar
San Jose Del Tambo Nibble bar + Crunchy Cocoa Nibs (70%)