by Kate Malin
For small batch chocolate makers Askinosie Chocolate, the first step in making phenomenal chocolate, before roasting the beans, before grinding the nibs, and before molding the bars, is finding the right cocoa farmers to source from. Placing a priority on this initial step allows for the creation of strong long-term relationships and for true collaboration between farmers and chocolate makers, with cocoa beans of the highest quality as the ultimate result. Founder Shawn Askinosie travels to farms on four continents and trades directly with small farmers, a practice that lets him to pay them more for their beans and in turn allows him a high degree of control over the the beans produced.
Askinosie’s stellar 70% San Jose Del Tambo, Ecuador Dark Chocolate Nibble Bar is the result of one of Shawn’s trips to visit small cocoa farmers and cultivate extraordinary working relationships with them. Cocoa farmer Vitaliano Saravia, pictured on the packaging of the bar made from his beans, grows highly prized Arriba Nacional beans in the foothills of the Andes Mountains in San Jose Del Tambo, Ecuador, where Shawn journeys yearly to collaborate and taste. The cocoa beans, cocoa butter, and the roasted cocoa nibs pressed into the bar are all made from the same batch of beans, yielding a stunning bar, rich with bright flavors of citrus, honey, and jasmine, with a delightful crunch from the cocoa nibs. Chocolate this good is best savored on its own, but a glass of strong Cabernet Sauvignon would not go amiss as a companion for the robust flavors in this bar.
Askinosie Chocolate is a proud member of the Good Food Merchants Guild and their Hey, Hey Chocolate Hazelnut Spread is a Finalist in this year’s Good Food Awards. The winners will be announced on January 15. Readers in the San Francisco area will have the chance to meet crafters, sample their products, and take home 80 of this year’s Winners by visiting the Good Food Awards Marketplace on Sunday, January 17. More information and tickets ($5) are available here. Askinosie Chocolate 70% San Jose Del Tambo, Ecuador Dark Chocolate Nibble Bar is available at askinosie.com and in stores across the country.
From her grassroots work at the Good Food Awards to her continued education at NYU’s Food Studies Master’s Program, Kate Malin brings an unparalleled passion for great food and good people.
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