If edible luxuries qualified, the new Askinosie Peanut Butter Chocolate Bar would be selected for the collection at MOMEA –the Museum of Modern Edible Art.
The Askinosie bar, or tablet, presents a dark, rich, unctuous Tanzanian chocolate, which borders on velour in texture; it has a lingering, haunting finish that goes on for minutes, like a stunning 100-point, Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine; there are hints beneath the dark cocoa layers of freshly roasted, ground peanuts.
The whole eating experience is like being presented with a multi-course, chef’s tasting menu... each bite is so complex, so perfectly balanced, that you can’t wait to have another bite. The chocolate is as sophisticated, subtle and sensual as a $300 bottle of wine – and each bite brings you more pleasure than the last.
The Askinosie Peanut Butter Chocolate Bar has zero relationship to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, so put this comparison out of your mind.
This bar is the single best expression of dark chocolate blended with peanut butter that I have ever tasted. As I have brought to market many hundreds of chocolate- and peanut-based products in my 40-year food development career – this is a professional opinion, not that of a hobbyist.
This is Shawn.
I have profiled Shawn Askinosie on this site many times.
Not the least of which include:
I mention these articles because I must remind readers that Shawn is quite possibly the best producer of premium chocolate in the United States. Very possibly in the world.
In many respects, Shawn Askinosie is the Elon Musk of chocolate; he makes up his own rules, pays no attention to traditional manufacturing processes and is a leader in his chosen field.
For example, Shawn flies directly to Tanzania, Ecuador, Honduras and the Philippines himself, to contract with cocoa farmers so there are no middlemen. Everything Shawn pays for his cacao goes 100 per cent, DIRECTLY to the producers.
Shawn only uses single-origin cacao – he doesn’t blend beans from one region with those of another. Shawn respects indigenous flavors, which differ among cocoa-growing regions.
Shawn is such a purist, in fact, that he doesn’t even mix the cocoa butter, which is removed from beans, with cocoa from another region – the cocoa butter gets reintroduced to the same regional cocoa later in the process of production.
With respect to the new Peanut Butter Bar; the beans have come from Mababu, Tanzania. The woman on the package is Miama Rahabu, the lead farmer of a women’s farmer group. Shawn spent a year developing this bar, finally determining that the ultimate taste experience was a bar containing 60% by weight dark, Trinitario chocolate. The remaining ingredients are organic cane sugar, peanut butter and cocoa butter.
As with all Askinosie chocolates, no lecithin is used in the production of this bar (I have only ever found one other producer – in Europe – who does not use lecithin, an emulsifier which gives chocolate its smooth mouthfeel).
And Shawn uses no vanilla, or vanillin, either. I don’t know of another chocolate-maker any where in the world who could make this boast. THAT’S how good Shawn’s chocolate is – he doesn’t need crutches to give his perfectly made chocolate the texture or taste, which other producers require.
For peanut butter, Shawn has chosen a premium, all-natural product from a craft spread maker, Big Spoon Roasters.
Made at the Askinosie Chocolate works in Springfield, Mo., the decadent PB + Chocolate Bar is certified Kosher, vegan, and gluten-free.
The Askinosie 60% Dark Chocolate + Peanut Butter Bar is $8.50 for an 85 gram bar; it is available at askinosie.com and specialty food retailers.
To order online, visit askinosie.com or call 417-862-9900.