More than just a tasty treat, chocolate is a work of art. And for Shawn Askinosie, the founder of Askinosie Chocolate, it’s a way of life. Askinosie Chocolate is a bean-to-bar chocolate maker that is based in Springfield, Missouri. They take great satisfaction in obtaining premium cocoa beans directly from growers and producing chocolate that is not only delectable but also morally and environmentally responsible.
Shawn Askinosie is a former criminal defense attorney who left his job in the legal field to pursue his passion for chocolate. He was inspired by the book “God in a Cup,” which explores the world of specialty coffee, and decided to apply the same principles to chocolate. He envisioned establishing a system of direct commerce with cocoa farmers, in which the farmers would have a voice in setting the market price for their beans and would participate in the entire chocolate-making operation.
In 2005, Askinosie traveled to Tanzania to meet with cocoa farmers and learn about their craft. Their dedication and desire to produce the highest quality cocoa beans inspired him. From there, he began sourcing cocoa beans directly from farmers in Tanzania, as well as other countries like Ecuador and the Philippines.
Askinosie Chocolate is unique because they oversee the entire chocolate-making process, from sourcing the cocoa beans to packaging the finished product. Bean-to-bar process, allows them to have complete control over the quality and flavor of their chocolate.
The first step in the bean-to-bar process is sourcing the cocoa beans. Askinosie works directly with farmers to ensure they receive fair prices for their beans. The beans are then shipped to Springfield, where they are roasted in small batches. The crucial stage in the chocolate-making process is roasting because it brings out the flavor and aroma of the cocoa beans.
Once the beans are roasted, they are cracked and winnowed to remove the shell and husk. The cocoa nibs, which are the purest type of cocoa, are next processed into a paste known as chocolate liquor. From there, the chocolate liquor is refined and conched, which helps to improve the texture and flavor of the chocolate.
Once the chocolate is mixed and conched, it is then tempered, a process that requires precise heating and cooling to give the chocolate a smooth, glossy finish. The finished chocolate is then packaged and ready to be enjoyed.
Askinosie Chocolate offers a variety of chocolate bars, each with its unique flavor profile. They have everything from dark chocolate to milk chocolate and even white chocolate. Some of their most popular bars include:
In addition to their chocolate bars, Askinosie also offers cocoa powder, baking chocolate, and even a chocolate hazelnut spread.
If you’re in the Springfield area, a visit to Askinosie Chocolate is a must. They offer factory tours where you can see the chocolate-making process in action and learn more about their commitment to ethical and sustainable practices. You can also visit their chocolate shop, where you can have a sample of their various chocolate bars. If you are near the area, you definitely have to visit Askinosie Chocolate.
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