Askinosie is an American bean-to-bar chocolate maker, based in Springfield, Missouri. Shockingly, in over four years of writing about chocolate practically every day, this is the first time we’ve reviewed one of their bars. That just goes to show how much amazing chocolate there is to talk about these days!
Askinosie pride themselves in their Fair Trade ethics, and it’s clear from word go that this is a bit different to your average chocolate. The packaging is made out of a distressed wax paper, held together with strings made from the sacks that originally held the cocoa beans. I just can’t decide if I like it or not.
Askinosie bars certainly look different from anything else on the market, but they don’t have the feel of a luxury food item. The packaging is more about the message than the experience of consuming the chocolate, and it just doesn’t quite sit right.
San Jose Del Tambo is the plantation in Ecuador where the beans for this bar are grown. Entering the ‘Choc-o-lot” number printed on the front of the bar into the Askinosie web site allows you to track the production of your bar from the time the beans arrived in the factory, to when the bar was packaged.
It also informs me that of the 70% cocoa solids in this bar, 2% is added cocoa butter from the same batch of beans. This is useful to know, because when cocoa butter is added in, chocolate makers rarely say how much or where it comes from.
The texture of the chocolate is interesting. It’s not completely smooth and has a slight graininess to it, but in this case, it seems to help coat the inside of your mouth as it melts, releasing a burst of intense flavour.
It’s quite bitter at first, with an short, sharp, citrus burst at the end. Not as overtly fruity as a Madagascan chocolate, but interesting nonetheless. Although my first reaction was “I don’t like this much”, I soon found myself having another piece… then another, until most of the bar was gone.
And yet I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about it. I did enjoy the flavours, but I can’t get away from the feeling that it’s just trying a little bit too hard, especially when compared to the elegant simplicity of other American bean-to-bar makers like Amano or Mast Brothers.
Thanks to Judith Lewis for supplying this bar.