If you’re a regular reader, you’ve heard me rave about small-batch bean-to-bar chocolate maker, Askinosie Chocolate a whole lot. Now I get to share the goods! I’m excited to have the opportunity not only to share their amazing chocolate with you but also to really give you the full story on why I love this company so much – as opposed to writing my usual chocolate-coma-induced “Mmmmms”.
At this point, I have a nice little history with Askinosie Chocolate. They were one of the first companies to reach out to me after I started this blog and before I knew it we were working together on some super-fun design projects. They let me design a jar of itty bars, a really cool wood-burned Peppermint Bark Box, tubes for Cocoa Nibs & Powder and most recently, a jar of ridiculously good Chocolate Hazelnut Spread.
Since we’ve known each other, they’ve visited the NY area (from Missouri) a few times for the Fancy Food Show. We’ve run around the show with them and even had some fun adventures like food truck stalking and epic cupcake tastings.
In October of last year, we got to visit them at their home-base in Missouri and Shawn Askinosie even helped Taste Tester set up his proposal right in their chocolate factory! My “chocolate and peanut butter” ring even came out of their chocolate cooling tunnel. How adorable is that?
After the proposal, we spent the rest of an already exciting week working the line in the chocolate factory. We learned the ins and outs of their bean-to-bar process. Here we are roasting some cocoa beans. I had already had plenty of experience eating their chocolate and this trip gave me a new appreciation for it, after seeing how much work went into each delicious little bite.
Aside from the wonderful experiences they’ve brought to me personally, they’ve done a lot for others both in their local community and across the globe. Here’s a quick summary of each of their amazing programs. They are truly incredible and inspiring efforts.
Shawn started a program called Chocolate University where he teaches “children and teens in our neighborhood about topics related to our business: direct trade, sustainability, and entrepreneurship.” They recently took a group of high schoolers to Tanzania to source beans for their latest bar and even raised money to build a well for the community while they were there. Read more here.
Here’s Shawn (bottom left) with the group of students he travelled with:
Here’s Shawn talking to the locals:
And here’s a child taking a sip of water from the deep water well they built while on their bean-sourcing trip to Tanzania. Pretty awesome.
A Stake in the Outcome
As if that wasn’t nice enough, Shawn personally travels to all of the farms where he sources his cocoa beans to meet with the farmers. If you follow Askinosie Chocolate on facebook you can catch the amazing photos they post from their trips. By sharing 10% of the net profits made from their chocolate, he pays the respective farmers higher than fair-trade prices. He also works with them directly, which is unique since most other companies do not. They do this to achieve the best taste, to be able to trace their chocolate and to be fair to the farmers. Read more here.
Lost and Found
Shawn co-founded this organization which aims to help counsel children to cope with the loss of a parent. Both Shawn and I share this unfortunate experience and know how valuable it is to have a source of strength to get you through such a tough time. It’s heart-warming to know that an organization such as this exists. Read more here.
Now that you’ve heard about how great the company is as well as all of my prior ravings about how amazing their single origin, small-batch, “better than fair trade”, *award-winning* chocolate is, I bet you’re ready to taste it, right?
Well, let’s get to it!
We have not one but TWO prize packs to share. Two lucky winners will receive a pack that includes:
• 1 Jar of Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
• 1 Single Origin Dark Chocolate Bar
• 1 Tube of Cocoa Powder
• 1 Tube of Cocoa Nibs
Giveaway Rules & Deadline
Shawn and I recently outlined the steps of their bean-to-bar process for a (not-yet-released) poster. Whoever guesses the correct number of steps in the poster will win the aforementioned prize pack! The second prize pack goes to the next closest guess. This giveaway will go through Tuesday, December 14th. Hint: If you decide to do some research, the language on the poster is not the same as it is on their site; so the number is not the same.
Good luck and happy guessing! Thanks to Askinosie Chocolate for sharing their amazing products with us!
Update: This giveaway has ended. See the conclusion here!