Askanya Chocolates, Haiti’s first and only bean-to-bar premium chocolate company, creates superb chocolates and jobs for local workers. A double win we simply couldn’t resist.
Corinne Joachim Sanon Symietz (below) began dreaming of a way to support and give back to her home island of Haiti at the age of 14 or 15, when most teens are consumed with far lesser pursuits. In a country sometimes defined by poverty, instability, and natural disasters, Corinne knew she didn’t want to simply start a charity, but a company that would help the people of Haiti.
After graduating high school in 2002 at 16, Corinne headed to the US for college. She studied in Louisiana, Michigan, and eventually earned her MBA from the prestigious Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. After completing her academic education, Corinne took a variety of jobs that would help her understand the inner-workings of a business and a factory. Corinne learned everything–from HR to raising capital to working on the line at a Hormel factory in Nebraska.
In 2015, Corinne’s dreams, determination, and hard work culminated in Les Chocolateries Askanya, Haiti’s first and only bean-to-bar premium chocolate company. It’s not widely known that Haiti grows some of the most sought-after cacao beans in the world, mostly used by premium European chocolatiers–until Askanya. More than 500 Haitian farmers provide the cacao beans for Askanya.
Flavors include milk, dark, and extra dark. Some flavored with locally-sourced citrus: lime in the Bouquet Vert and orange in the delightful Solèy. One of my favorites is the Wanga Nègès. It’s made with Rapadou, an unprocessed, all-cane sugar, that adds an almost caramel note to the chocolate. The cacao ranges from 47% in the milk chocolate up to 90% in the Perle Rare, an extra-dark chocolate. New flavors are on the horizon, including a passion fruit chocolate currently in testing.
By creating jobs that provide a fair living wage, and using Haitian-grown ingredients, Askanya, a Black, female-owned business, is helping to create a legacy of Haitian pride with a sweet future; a treat that can help nurture, employ, and sustain an island nation’s people. Askanya’s motto is, “Grown in Haiti, Made in Haiti, Enjoyed Everywhere.”
Les Chocolateries Askanya are available on their website and at the Union Square Holiday Market NYC daily 11 am-8 pm until December 24th.