Travelling to Ecuador is an intense experience for all the senses. As the country is so diverse, the gastronomy is also rich and extraordinary. One of their unique products for foodies is their mosaic of different kind of chocolates, with a wide range of flavors, textures and aromas.
HISTORY OF CHOCOLATE
Before the colonization of the Americas, Mayans used chocolate beans as currency, but in fact the History of chocolate goes way back to thousands of years ago, in the Amazonian rainforest in Latin America, where cacao trees grow wild. According to scientific findings of the last years, based on carbon 14 tests, Ecuador was the first place where cacao was found. Cacao’s traces found in jars suggest that Mayo-Chinchipe culture natives 5,500 years ago used cacao to prepare energizing drinks.
In the late 19th Century, this country was the first producer of cacao around the world, and today the country is living its second cacao boom, thanks to dedicated bean-to-bar makers, talented chefs, as well as government initiatives and of course the gourmet foodies who invest in this extraordinary product. Ecuadorian chocolate is recognised internationally as one of the best chocolates of the world.
PACARI, CONSIDERED THE BEST ONE
Pacari, a chocolate brand founded by the ecuadorian Santiago Peralta, has won for five consecutive years the Chocolate Awards with different prizes. Pacari uses organic cacao produced in the provinces of Esmeraldas, Los Rios and Manabi, blended with Andean flavors. It is commercialized in different formats: chocolate bars, cacao covered cocoa beans, fruit harvest bars, etc.
The awards have been given to the chocolate Los Rios 72%, Montubia 70%, Piura 70% and Tutu Iku 70%. Moreover, in the category of flavoured bars, this chocolate has received awards for its dark chocolates: Andean Mint, Andean Rose, Lemon Verbena, Passion fruit 60% and lemongrass. And last but not least, the International Chocolate Awards have also recognised the chocolate Tutu Iku 70% with the gold prize in the category of growing country.
BEST WAYS TO TRY ECUADORIAN CHOCOLATE
Chocolate can also be found in restaurants, as the most passionate chefs of the country have added this marvelous ingredient to some of their recipes. Another great experience for foodies is chocolate tasting. Republica del Cacao and other companies offer several tasting sessions for visitors.
Travelers can also find chocolate bars in the shops of the principal cities. There is another good option for those who look for confort: having a chocolate spa treatment, very healthy and relaxing.
Travelers can visit the cacao producing farms in different rural zones in Ecuador, surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes. Furthermore, they have the chance to buy chocolate directly to local indigenous cooperatives, an organic and tasty chocolate of many different kinds.
If you want to travel to Ecuador or Peru, our local DMC is available for travelers and operators. Don’t hesitate to contact us to ask for a tailor-made trip that suit your schedule, budget, and interests.