Chocolate with Love and a Conscience

Valentine’s Day and chocolate, it’s an ethical eater’s dilemma for certain. All that worry about carbon footprint, fair trade, ogranic. “But, Honey, it wasn’t eco-friendly!” may not help your cause on Feb. 14th with a real chocolate-loving sweetheart. Here’s a relationship that won’t require any compromises: Askinosie. Ask what?

Rare, Single Bean Origins, Even Rarer Ethics

Askinosie is a small chocolate company out of Springfield, Missouri. It’s not exactly tip of the tongue for foodie locations, but to Midwesterners, it’s as local as chocolate can get. The Askinosie bars are all single bean origin, and unique origins at that. Their Soconuso bar is the first chocolate bar consumed outside Mexico in over 100 years that contains beans from this region. Other origins include San Jose Del Tambo, Ecuador and Davao, Phillipines.

Perhaps best of all is that owner Shawn Askinosie not only pays the farmers better than fair trade prices, he shares directly with them 10 percent of the net profits from chocolate made from their farms. Askinosie also works directly with the farmers, no middlemen, to make sure the beans are produced to exacting standards.

Once the beans are harvested, fermented and dried, they are shipped direct to the U.S. and the factory in the Midwest. There, the beans are carefully roasted. The cocoa hulls are donated to the local farmers market who bags the hulls and sells them for mulch.

The Taste Test

For those who love dark chocolate, really, really love it, Askinosie is everything you can hope for. The chocolate is rich and complex with as many layers of flavor as an expensive Cabernet. There are no “flavors” or added ingredients in the bars other than a pistacio-white chocolate one and a covered shortbread item. The rare, single origin beans have all the flavor you could hope for. Askinosie offers just about everything that a Hershey bar doesn’t.

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