Smile Politely

Treat yourself to dark chocolate by Chikondi

Two bags of chocolate by Chikondi Chocolates in Champaign, Illinois. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.
Alyssa Buckley

Chikondi, a new craft chocolate company, makes a variety of dark chocolate here in Champaign. Currently, the online shop offers dark chocolate bark made with cocoa from Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, and Vietnam. Chikondi sources fair trade cocoa beans from tropical countries near the equator and roasts each batch to bring out the origin’s unique flavor profile.

I recently bought myself some of the small batch craft chocolate. I picked the Madagascar and Vietnam single-origin dark chocolate barks.

Alyssa Buckley

On the left, that’s the Madagascar dark chocolate, and on the right, that’s dark chocolate made with cocoa beans from Vietnam. Though chocolates had the same three ingredients: cocoa, cocoa butter, and organic cane sugar, the taste was so different. The Madagascar tasted of dark cocoa with a bright berry and citrus finish, and the chocolate made with cocoa from Lam Dong, Vietnam had a delicious roasted flavor layered with a raisin-y sweetness.

With a decadent dark chocolate bitterness, the chocolates tasted gourmet, and each bag of chopped dark chocolate cost $10. The chocolates tasted really good, though, and would be a sweet way to treat yourself.

Alyssa Buckley

There is no physical store to browse Chikondi chocolates; all the chocolate is online. When I ordered online, pick-up was for the following day. The shop has appointment-based pick-up available Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Pan & Cake/Marble’s Commercial Kitchen space, and there’s parking out front. When I arrived for pick-up, my bag of chocolates was ready and waiting on a counter along with other orders.

My order of chocolates also had information about the bean’s origin location, fermentation style, and drying style, which I thought was cool. Check out the bean-to-bark chocolate company’s website to learn more.

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