Frequently Asked Questions
Where did the name “Askinosie” come from?
Shawn here: It’s my last name; so it came from my parents. It was originally “Ashkenazi” but my grandfather had it changed for him to Askinosie when he came to the U.S.A. It is pronounced ask-i-no-see.
How can I use my Askinosie gift card or a coupon code?
You can type (or copy/paste) your gift card number or coupon code in the shopping cart during checkout. Just look for the section called “Coupon or Gift Card” and enter the number there.
Do you have a list of all of the nutrition facts and ingredient list for all of your products?
All nutritional, allergen, and ingredient information can be found under the specific page for each and every product we make. Note that each product is processed in a facility that also processes milk, goat's milk, peanuts, tree nuts and wheat. You can also find specific Allergen and Special Dietary Information for all of our products, here. Don't hesitate to contact us at email@example.com with any questions or concerns you may have.
Are your products Kosher?
We are Kosher Certified, with the exception of Hey, Hey Hazelnut!™ Chocolate Hazelnut Spread, Dark Milk Chocolate + Black Licorice CollaBARation™ Bar, Gingerbread Dark Chocolate Bar and our Pumpkin Spice White Chocolate Bar. The certification varies by product, but details on each product’s specific Kosher certification can be found on the product pages. Our certifying partner is Vaad HaKashruth in Kansas City, MO.
Do you have any sugar-free chocolate?
We do not have sugar free or sugar substitute chocolate bars. Our chocolate contains three (two, really, since the cocoa butter comes from the same cocoa beans) ingredients: cocoa beans, organic sugar, and cocoa butter (that comes from the cocoa beans). We make the cocoa butter ourselves and we are the first small batch chocolate maker in the US to do this. We do, however, have Roasted Cocoa Nibs, which do not contain sugar.
Is your chocolate gluten-free?
Everything we make is gluten-free except for one product: Dark Chocolate + Malted Milk CollaBARation™ Bar (with Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams). Our signature dark chocolates contains only two ingredients: cocoa beans and organic sugar. We don’t use lecithin, vanilla, or any other additives.
Does your chocolate contain nuts?
Yes—we use nuts in some of our chocolate. This means that all of our chocolate is made on equipment that may have been in contact with nuts. Therefore, our other chocolate products may contain traces of peanuts and/or tree nuts. We are a very small factory and unfortunately we do not have the ability to have a separate production line for a totally nut free environment.
Please check specific product pages for details on which products contain nuts and pertinent allergen warnings. You can also check our packaging; the ingredients and allergen warnings are listed on the nutrition panel, on the back or bottom of the product.
Does your chocolate contain additives or emulsifiers such as lecithin? What about vanilla?
We do not add any kind of lecithin to our products and never have. We only add vanilla to one product: our Dark Chocolate + Crunchy Sugar Crystals & Vanilla Bean CollaBARation™ Bar. This product contains whole vanilla bean pieces. In fact, we don’t add any additives to our signature dark chocolate; beans and organic sugar, that’s it. We want to be able to taste what the farmers have grown as best possible. We do add some quality ingredients to some of our other chocolate bars such as goat’s milk, organic pistachios, etc and those are clearly indicated on the package and on this site.
Is your chocolate certified organic?
Our dark chocolate is made from two ingredients: cocoa beans and certified organic sugar. Our cocoa butter is pressed from the same cocoa beans that we use to make our chocolate. Our chocolate is unofficially organic. We go to great lengths to make sure the farmers do not use chemicals and pesticides; not only do they sign a contract, we visit these farms yearly and can personally verify their practices. We also make sure that our beans are shade grown and that the cocoa trees are intercropped with other trees and crops. Our cocoa beans are not certified, however, in part for the same reason we aren’t Fair Trade certified—the certification process for the beans is very expensive and our farmers can’t afford it. Though we are not certified organic, our beans can be traced completely back to their origin. We have the name of every farmer who contributed to each crop. We state the bean origin, the bean variety, the percentage of cocoa content, the process (bean to bar), and a choc-o-lot number that our customers can use to trace their chocolate from the origin of the bean through each step to the final product. Our customers can literally visit our website, submit the Choc-o-lot number from their chocolate product, and read all the steps that lead up to the very moment their product was packaged.
What’s the big deal about your cocoa butter and your natural cocoa powder?
The big deal is—we are the first small batch chocolate maker in the U.S. to press our own cocoa butter AND the first makers of natural cocoa powder. Our Natural Cocoa Powder is made right in our factory using the same beans we use to make our dark chocolate. We have a custom press in our factory that we use to make the cocoa press cake from cocoa liquor that we create with beans from our various origins. The press cake is then milled into a powder that is easy to bake with, make hot cocoa or ice cream and so many other things. It is an authentic single origin powder that is unsweetened and non-alkalized. The true flavor of the beans translate into a rich dark cocoa powder great for baking.
Our cocoa butter is also pressed in our factory using the same custom press as the natural cocoa powder and we are the only small batch chocolate maker to do this. The Wine Spectator featured our cocoa butter-making in their July 2013 issue “Like Butter for Chocolate,” in which we are praised for being one of the few makers in the world who press our own cocoa butter.
What is the significance of the strings on the top of your chocolate package?
These strings come from the bags of cocoa beans delivered to our factory. They are biodegradable, but we reuse them. We hire the women at a local shelter, Victory House New Life Program, to make these strings for us from the bags.
What do the “1-2-3” and “toot-toot” mean on the back of the bar packaging?
Shawn here: “1-2-3” is something that my wife and I have been writing in cards and notes to each other for nearly 30 years. Nobody but us knows what it means and this was my little tribute to her on the package. Our daughter says that we need to put the meaning in our will or safe deposit box so they can know what it means someday. As for “toot-toot,” when my daughter, Lawren, was little and we tucked her in at night, we would leave her room and say “night night” and she responded “toot-toot” for some inexplicable reason. This phrase has carried on with us now for years. Putting “toot-toot” on the package was my way of remembering her in those days long ago.
Is it true that Shawn was a professional wrestler in Japan?
In a word: yes. He attended Sophia University in Tokyo and his roommates at Wakei-juku dorm convinced him it was a good idea. His name was “Shooting Shawn Springfield.” Even though he is not a large man, Shawn was big in Japan.
I shop Fair Trade as much as possible. How do you pay your farmers and how do they share in the profits?
We love the Fair Trade idea. We believe, however, that we have to be vigilant that Fair Trade does not become a marketing gimmick or reduced to a bumper sticker. The Fair Trade movement has been important environmentally, socially, and economically. In many ways though it has become ubiquitous. We must ask the questions and dig deeper to find out how companies treat people: their suppliers, their employees, their community, etc. Fair Trade has been scrutinized because some question if the money ever finds its way to the farmer in the field and not coop bureaucrats. Our chocolate is not “certified” Fair Trade mainly because the farmers we work with cannot afford the certification but also because we don’t think it’s necessary. We’d like to think that our chocolate is beyond Fair Trade because it’s Direct Trade. Not only do we pay above Fair Trade prices for the beans we buy, we profit share with our farmer partners. Learn more about our Direct Trade practices and A Stake In The Outcome here.
Why can’t you ship to me using the Post Office USPS? Why is your shipping so expensive?
Shipping is not a profit center for us. In fact, we lose money on it. We have received suggestions in the past to use USPS for all of our shipping. The reason we don’t, however, is lack of tracking. We are a small factory with only 15 full-time employees and need to use one shipping company with tracking, and the best option for us is FedEx. We wish that the entire shipping situation was different and not so expensive. We offer free shipping for orders that exceed $50 in some cases (check our Shipping page for more details). This way you are able to get a lot more chocolate and spend a lot less on shipping!
Can I return my Askinosie purchase?
Yes. If for any reason you are not satisfied with your purchase, we are happy to exchange it for another item. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us at (417) 862-9900. We are available Monday through Thursday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm and Friday 9:00 - 5:00 pm CST.
Will you donate chocolate to my charity or cause?
At Askinosie Chocolate, we greatly value the opportunity to give to our local community and to share in our successes as we grow as a business. For our company, this is demonstrated through our commitment to two Springfield organizations that are especially important to us: Chocolate University and Lost & Found Grief Center.
Chocolate University was established by Askinosie Chocolate to provide a unique learning opportunity for the students who attend Boyd Elementary, Pipkin Middle, and Springfield area High Schools. This cooperative learning program offers students a chance to learn through the lens of artisan chocolate making and directly connects them with the regions from which we source cocoa beans. Learn more about Chocolate University.
Lost & Found Grief Center was co-founded by our founder, Shawn Askinosie, to provide grief support and education to individuals and families in the Southwest Missouri area at no cost.
Finally, although it’s not a charity, we’re sustainably feeding many students every day in Tanzania and the Philippines through our A Product of Change™ program.
In the past, we have made the effort to meet each of the donation requests we have received in the Springfield area and beyond. Recently we have decided to laser focus our giving efforts to the organizations and projects mentioned above in order to serve with even greater depth. We do make exceptions to this policy for projects that relate directly to our neighborhood.
Are you looking for more cocoa bean origins?
We are currently directly sourcing from three countries on three continents; we are the only small batch American chocolate makers who do this. We are always on the lookout for new origins. We are not looking for additional sources inside the countries where we are already sourcing beans. We will not be adding a fourth origin for at least a year or more. It takes us about two years to bring on a new origin because we have to check the bean quality, travel to the location and meet with farmers, determine if the group is amenable to profit sharing… the list is long. We are always happy to receive cocoa bean samples but we do not guarantee a reply due to time constraints. If you want to send bean samples unsolicited it is fine by us but please do not send roasted beans; only fermented and dried. Additionally, please indicate exactly where the beans come from and the number of days fermented and dried.
Can Shawn or someone from your factory come speak at my event?
Shawn is often traveling to origin and rarely has time to accept speaking requests. However, he is a sought-after speaker and tries to make time to tell our story. He does charge a speaking fee in most instances, as this is a way we raise money for Chocolate University. If you’re interested in learning more details email us at email@example.com or visit this page on our site. It is possible that another member of our leadership team could speak to your group if the event is local. We’re such a small company that it’s “all hands on deck” most of the time.
Is Shawn related to Brad Pitt?
Technically the answer is no. Brad is also from Springfield and the two are often confused but they are not related. Shawn did meet Brad once and said that he is a very down to earth guy. Brad’s brother Doug is a friend of Shawn’s, but they are not related either. Doug is a Chocolate University supporter and his counsel comes in very handy as the Tanzanian Goodwill Ambassador to the United States.