And the final outstanding chocolate event of 2016 was our visit to the Askinosie chocolate factory in Springfield, MO, on the way to Kansas City. If you look up “artisan chocolate maker” in the dictionary, Shawn Askinosie’s picture should be there. An erstwhile lawyer, he reinvented himself after schooling in the Amazon rain forest and an Ecuadorian chocolate factory.
Housed in a repurposed commercial building in the old downtown area (with a Little Free Library outside), the factory had shut down production for the day when we arrived for our tour. The retail sales area held a display of all of Askinosie’s products, with detailed tasting notes and the promise of samples after the tour.
But first, even though there was no chocolate being manufactured at the moment (a big disappointment for yours truly), hairnets were required to enter the factory area. Some of us were unsure about that at first.
But then, the opportunity to look silly on social media overcame all qualms.
During the tour, a peek into an inner room revealed that the staff took net-wearing seriously.
And our guide, Megan, made sure we were versed in all aspects of chocolate manufacture. She explained what happened in each area of the factory.
She passed out chocolate nibs, so we could sample the raw material.
And yes, we indulged in much tasting and some purchasing at the end of the tour. We also were schooled in the good deeds we were helping to support. Askinosie as a company is dedicated to the welfare of its suppliers and the planet – it buys direct from growers and pays them above fair trade prices. It uses environmentally correct packaging, “home compostable and biodegradable.”
And my, does it taste good! We indulged in the Single Origin Dark Chocolate Bar 4 Pack. Between the chocolate and the barbecue, Missouri was one tasty state.