I like to think of myself as somewhat of a chocolat connoisseur. For the longest time, I didn’t indulge because I had really bad acne and chocolate aggravated it. It wasn’t until years later that I found out that it wasn’t the “chocolate” cacao bean itself, it was all the crap other unrecognizable ingredients that went into a typical SAD chocolate bar. After I went high raw and discovered raw cacao, wow! – not only could I eat it, but now it was good for me (in moderation, of course. )
Since then I’ve expanded my repertoire to include high quality roasted chocolate with the following caveat – it must have 4 or less ingredients: cacao, a healthy fat, a natural sweetener and sea salt. I swear I can hang out in specialty shops or Whole Foods for hours (ok, maybe not hours) and just read the back of all the chocolate bar labels. Dark, strong and bitter is the way I like it – just like my men (hehe.) And there are sooo many quality bars coming out now. There’s even a small shop in my town called The Chocolate Path with top of the line chocolate from artisan chocolatiers. (Gotta love Montclair!) So when Askinosie offered to provide me a sample to review, how could I refuse?
I had already tried the Askinosie 77% Davao Dark Chocolate Bar previously so I knew their samples would be awesome, but after reading their website I was doubly impressed! They are the first small batch chocolate maker in the U.S. to press their own cocoa butter AND the only makers of natural cocoa powder made right in their factory using the same beans used to make the dark chocolate. They deal direct with the farmers 100% – no middleman – and do not buy beans from farmers they have not met IN PERSON. They pay the farmers above the Fair Trade market price for the beans and the farmer receive 10% of the net profits from the chocolate produced with beans from their farm. Although Askinosie is not “certified” organic due to the high cost of certification for the farmers, they do not use chemicals and pesticides and every batch of cacao beans can be traced back through the process from “bean to bar” with the choc-o-lot # on every bar.
Damn – talk about quality control! You really have to check out their website to get the full picture of the care that goes into their chocolate. It’s full disclosure – everything is there online. You can learn about the chocolate-making process and even tour their chocolate factory in Missouri. Not only is the Askinosie website chockful of information but it is one of the COOLEST websites I have ever seen. You must check it out.
So right now, I am experimenting with the simply divine natural cacao powder that they sent me. In my next post, I will have the delicious results. Yummmm!
BTW: Askinosie provided me with a free sample of their product, and I was under no obligation to review it. I am not an affiliate and am not being paid to share their products with my readers. Instead, I am sharing because I like what the company stands for and the high quality of their product!