September 25, 2015
After 56 hours of plane, train and automobile travel from his home in Springfield, MO, Askinosie Chocolate founder Shawn Askinosie approached the single dirt road that would lead him to the Tanzanian village of Mababu.
Driving through the village on his most recent trip, Shawn found himself surrounded by a tropical landscape—coconut, palm and fruit trees—and out of the left window, looming large above the village, the Livingstone mountain range welcomed him.
Shawn is constantly on the go, traversing the globe to visit the farms in the Philippines, Honduras and Ecuador that supply the cocoa for his family-owned artisanal startup. Having started Askinosie ten years ago after quitting his job as a criminal defense lawyer, Shawn built his business from the ground up. His passion to turn a love of chocolate into something greater and more meaningful, helps him relate to his farmers—it’s kinship, he says.
“We are so hyper-focused on quality it’s crazy. It’s one of the reason I travel so much, I’m constantly tasting beans and testing beans and looking at the harvest practices so that the quality is better and better,” says Shawn.
This year, Askinosie became part of Target’s Made to Matter offering. The sweet result of the collaboration? Three exclusive chocolate bars for Target—on shelves now!—that are traceable back to the farmer—Dark Chocolate, Dark Chocolate + Crushed Almonds & Vanilla, Dark Milk Chocolate + Goat’s Milk.
“The relationship between Target and Askinosie has been one in which our small size has been honored as opposed to pressured,” says Shawn. “And as the ‘little guy’ it’s something that I deeply appreciate.”
So why the Tanzanian beans for these exclusive bars? The chocolate derived from the cocoa has a versatile and approachable flavor profile, perfect for people ready to “dip their toe into the deep end of dark chocolate.”
Take a look at the map below to learn more about Askinosie’s bean to bar process!
Hungry for more information on Target’s Made to Matter? Check out the 2015 offering and don’t miss our interview with Adina Grigore, founder of natural skincare brand S.W. Basics.
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