Toasty hemp seeds meet Askinosie’s chocolate

Brian Brown, Reporter

On June 24, Springfield-based Askinosie Chocolate announced a new ingredient combination that could turn a few hungry heads: a dark chocolate and toasted hemp bar.

Call it good marketing by sandwich chain Quiznos, but my knee-jerk reaction upon hearing the news was, ‘Mmm, toasty.’

Make no mistake, the product is perfectly legal and won’t get anyone “high,” unless you count yourself among those who consider dark chocolate intoxicating.

The C-Street chocolate manufacturer teamed up with Austin, Texas-based hemp purveyor Happy Hemp to create Askinosie’s sixth bar in its CollaBARation line. The line incorporates products from food artisans such as Ohio-based Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams into one-of-a-kind chocolate bars.

Founder Shawn Askinosie was quick to call me back from New York City where he is preparing to unveil the bar at an industry trade show after I called and emailed to inquire about its use in food products. I was aware of hemp’s use in clothing – I am pretty sure my wife owns a hemp bag – but I had no idea it was used in everything from soap to milk.

“There are hundreds, if not thousands, of industrial uses for hemp,” Askinsosie said, noting he was attracted to the notion of using it in a bar for its super-food properties. “It has a higher amount of protein per gram than quinoa or chia seeds.”

The bars, he said, already are available online and at his 514 E. Commercial St. facility, and would soon be ready for purchase locally at stores including Mama Jean’s Natural Market and Harter House.

“These hemp seeds are toasted, and they are lightly salted, so there is this almost nut-like flavor that you get immediately when you eat the bar. And we recommend you eat the bar hemp-side down, so that the hemp is on your tongue,” Askinosie said, adding the bar has a crunchy texture. “We have found that people really like the bars that have crunch in them.”

Askinosie's dark chocolate and toasted hemp bar

Askinosie’s dark chocolate and toasted hemp bar

As a fan of virtually anything that includes dark chocolate, the bar has piqued my interest. The fact that it incorporates a product that can’t legally be grown in the U.S. just adds to the mystique.

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