Askinosie’s Authentic Chocolate Shop in Springfield, MO

Springfield, Missouri may be an unlikely destination for chocolate lovers, but those who seriously knows chocolate knows that Askinosie Chocolates is a reason to find Springfield.

The exterior of Askinosie Chocolate Shop in Springfield, MissouriWhen you walk into the former railroad supply building, your nose tingles with the sharp aroma of cacao beans, an aroma similar to chocolate, but this is just a little tangier. Chocolate, of course, is a by-product of cacao beans, but the distinct aroma here is the link to Soconusco, Mexico and an aroma the world hadn’t experienced in more than 100 years.

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Shawn Askinosie’s Passion for Chocolate

Shawn Askinosie, a burned-out criminal defense attorney from Springfield, needed another outlet for his passions and energy and began thinking about chocolate. So, he traveled throughout South and Central America studying the cacao harvest.

There he discovered the distinct flavor of Soconusco chocolate. For thousands of years, farmers in the coastal community near the Guatemalan border grew this distinct cacao that became a sign of wealth and superiority in the Aztec Empire. But the modern world forgot Soconusco chocolate until Shawn Askinosie wandered into the region in 2007.

 

Shawn Askinosie in his chocolate shop in Springfield, Missouri.He bought a couple of bags of beans and took it back to Springfield. The first commercial batch of Askinosie Chocolate went on sale in May 2007, just in time for Mother’s Day. This chocolate is reported to be 65 times higher in anti-oxidants than broccoli with approximately 600 orac units per gram.

Askinosie ChocolateGives Back to Cacao Farmers

The chocolate factory for Askinosie Chocolate in Srpingfield Missouri

Shawn continued to expand his efforts, placing the chocolate in high-end gift shops and selling it online. In the first year, he bought six tons of cacao beans from Soconusco, something no one had done in a century.

That December Shawn flew back to Soconusco and presented those farmers with their first profit-sharing check. They get 10 percent of whatever he makes, in addition to the earnings from the cacao beans he purchases from them.

But even better, he brought them a big box of chocolate bars made from the beans they had raised. The people of Soconusco had never tasted their own chocolate.

 

 

Shawn Askinosie of Askinosie chocolate with growers in Mexico.

 

Think about that as you consider buying chocolate for yourself and those you love. Give them something really special, like Shawn Askinosie gave the people of Soconusco Mexico.

 

 

 

 

Update: When traveling in Hawaii, I took a tour of Cacao plantation on the island of Kaui. As the owners offered samples and talked about the chocolate making process and their inspiration, they recognized Shawn Askinosie of Springfield, Missouri as a pioneer of modern chocolate production.

Gifts for Chocolate Lovers