Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bar of the Week: Askinosie Soconusco Nibble Bar

Region: Inclusion using beans from Mexico
Bean Type: Trinitario
Cocoa Content: 75%

In a city recently named one of the ten worst places to raise a family in America, the same city that is trying to escape its lynching past, Springfield, Missouri now has something to be proud of - Askinosie Chocolate. The driving force behind the company is founder and chocolate maker, Shawn Askinosie, and he has a whopper of a tale to tell. If you've ever dreamed of a midlife career change this is the story for you. Shawn began his career with a degree in political science and a high paying job as a criminal defense lawyer. Along with that job came many awards, as well as a number of death threats, and the latter convinced him to consider pursuing his passion for chocolate. Making chocolates and truffles is one thing, but taking the time to learn how to create chocolate from the bean is a whole different challenge, especially when you tell your family that you want to leave your high paying position to focus on your new hobby full-time. A trip to the Amazon Rain Forest to study post harvest techniques and some time with a Master Chocolate Maker in Ecuador helped get Shawn up to speed, and a few (thousand) tests later the finished products began to emerge.

The 70% Soconusco Nibble Bar is one of the four Askinosie products that we currently carry. The Nibble portion of the name refers to the crushed cocoa beans that are sprinkled over the back of the bar to give the chocolate a nut-like crunch.

Fun Fact: Shawn puts two hidden references to his family on the packaging for his bars. The 1-2-3 is a secret message to his wife and the toot-toot is a nod to his daughter.

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