I hate people who are not serious about their meals. -- Oscar Wilde

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Askinosie Chocolate

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Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: I am suspicious of people that do not like chocolate- Looking at you Mom

I first discovered Askinosie when I had an unhealthy obsession with Nutella. I was spreading it on basically everything and was looking for other chocolate hazelnut spreads and that is when I discovered Askinosie chocolate and specifically their hazelnut chocolate spread and it takes spreadable condiments on a whole other level. Also it is n Oprah’s list of favorite things because you know; I am the type that hangs onto everything Oprah says. Askinosie chocolate one of the growing number of American chocolatiers that is producing high quality chocolate on par with established European Chocolatiers. Not only that, they are deeply invested in the coca and overseeing the farming and production of all their beans. The founder, Shawn Askinosie is actually visiting the farm of the coca and meeting the farmers, ensuring are being paid fairly. This is probably the most conscious free chocolate that you will ever eat. It is all good that Askinosie are undisputedly on the responsible company honor roll but how does their chocolate stack up? Given I eat a lot of chocolate (I mean, I have a chocolate drawer…okay well more like a shelf) I decided to try their various chocolates, the San Jose Del Tambo  70% Dark Chocolate, the 72% Tanzanian, the Davao White Chocolate bar and the White Chocolate with Pistachios. Chocolate after Jump!

San Jose Del Tambo
The first bars I tried were the dark chocolates. The San Jose Del Tambo is hailing from the Ecuador and the Tanzanian is hailing from…well Tanzania. First thing to do when you get a chocolate bar is actually look at it because appearance can tell you a lot about the chocolate, especially quality. The chocolate bars had a smooth and glossy finish which is a good thing as well as lacking air bubbles, which is not necessarily a bad thing in taste but shows the care that a Chocolatier takes in producing the bar because it means they actually took the time to tap out the air bubbles meaning care in quality assurance. 

The San Jose had rich fruity notes to it as well as a slightly bitter yet pleasant coffee aftertaste. The combination of these flavor aspects made this a well balanced bar and I personally do not like fruity aspects to my chocolate but this one worked out well. The Tanzanian dark was the one that I preferred if I had to pick between the two, it was rich and assertive with a strong tobacco flavors with a bitter undertone that like the bars I have sample from Askinosie, have been well balanced. Askinosie dark chocolates use great restraint in the amount of sweetness which is just right that unfortunately makes you wanting more, which makes me thankful they do not deal drugs, because I am pretty sure that pushers operate the same way!

Straight up white Chocolate
Previous experiences/consumption of white chocolate can be described as cavity inducing, artificial sweetness and has a stale taste. White chocolate that I have sampled rarely has any complexity to it yet Askinosie White chocolate certainly changed that. First off, you notice the color of the bar, which is not albino white like most popular brands but has a hint of hazel to it. Tasting the bar, there is an indescribable richness to the bar that can be attributed to the concentration of coca butter that is used, again like the dark chocolate bars, the sweetness level of the white chocolate bars is just right. I also had the white chocolate with pistachios, which is a suited pairing, combining the slightly salty meatiness of pistachios with the sweet chocolate. 

White Chocolate with Pistachios
The hazelnut spread is proof that America is number one. I like Nutella or Nocello but the hazelnut spread from Askinosie is on a different level. The second that the chocolate hits your tongue your head is flooded with rich chocolate goodness. The hazelnut though subtle is there and pairs wonderfully with the rich chocolate. The spread is sweetened just enough and allows the natural bitterness of the chocolate to come through and adds a complexity to the spread. I am selfish in which I pretty much hoard this for myself. Unless I have friends that can appreciate a good chocolate, you are not getting this. I am not that mean, I have a jar of Nutella for guests. Is it a foodie-douche move? Yes. But when someone you give to try it, slathers half the jar on a piece of Wonderbread and says it is just like the chocolate spread, then it is not really that dick of me. 
Askinosie is producing beautiful and a tasty chocolate in the Middle of America and at the same time running it as a benevolent business and takes the idea of fair trade completely to heart. Not only that they are a model of transparency that each of their bars has a code that if you are bored, can input on their site and you can see exactly where the beans came from and when. This is probably the one of the best chocolates that you can eat and feel guilt free and feel good about buying and eating.

Askinosie Chocolate

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