I founded Ashanty Chocolate in April 2016 in Long Island City, NY.
I grew up in Cameroon in Central Africa, where my grandfather owned a cocoa farm. I spent years helping him harvest the pods, sundry them, package them and ship them into the city.
This process was a natural aspect of our cacao growing process and a major source of income for my grandfather.
I did not know what the cacao beans were for. All I knew was that the fresh cacao pulps were sweet so, we ate them like any other fruit and discarded the seeds.
Since my parents didn’t let me have candy, I did not have my first chocolate bar until I was about 12 years old. When I finally did, my life changed! I became fascinated with chocolate and, I embarked on a journey to learn how to make chocolate.
It wasn't until 15 years later that I took the leap and started Ashanty.
At Ashanty Chocolate, our aim is to create a Chocolate Savoring Experience where Passion and Purpose come together.
We work to achieve this mission through our commitment to use organic ingredients and by donating a portion of our profits to charities that help fight Cancer, Hunger and Malaria; and to those that promote Education and Clean Water in Africa.
Let's first say that Ashanty is not the Singer/Songwriter.
Ashanty is a tribe from Ghana in West Africa that is credited for being the first people to domesticate the cacao plant, paving the way for the chocolate industry.
Is the name Ashanty Personal?
In a way, yes. I'm African, and I thought it would be respectful to pay tribute to that tribe by naming my chocolate company Ashanty. Plus, the Queen Mother of the Ashanty Tribe was a strong woman who reminded me in many ways of my mom.
The short answer is, the elegance. But there is so much more to it. This custom designed fabric is called the Kente Cloth.
Have you ever seen those beautiful bright multicolored scarves worn on graduation day by thousands of African Americans and African students across the U.S.?
Those scarves, usually hand-woven, bright, and multicolored are made from a material commonly known as Kente cloth, which originates from the Ashanty people of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.
The Ashanty people used to hand weave these bright multicolored cloths for their kings, queens other and noblemen.
I wanted to create a custom-printed version of the Kente cloth design for our chocolates. So the fabric is there for a reason. It is a symbol of African royalty.
So each chocolate bar carries a history and tradition of prestige, excellence and high-class. We want each of our customer to really feel that sense of uniqueness and exclusivity when they get our chocolates.
Constantine Abanda talks to BronxNet about Ahanty Chocolate