It may surprise you to know that Ecuadorian chocolate is considered among the best in the world. So, while you are in Ecuador, you might want to learn about the history of chocolate, how it is produced, and of course, try some delicious samples while you are at it. Here we give you the lowdown on the chocolate of Ecuador. We will fill you in on the history of chocolate, and we’ll explain why Ecuadorian chocolate is just so good. We will also give you pointers on places to go where you might be able to get a chocolate tour, and some names of different brands of Ecuadorian chocolate to try.
If you ask most people, they will tell you that cocoa originally came from Mexico, but this is not necessarily the case, and it may have first come from South America. Interestingly there is evidence to suggest that the cocoa plants originated in the Amazon basin. For many years it was thought that it emerged in a part of the region that now falls within Venezuela’s borders. However, recent archaeological evidence seems to indicate that cocoa beans were first found in Ecuador. Indeed, remains of ceramics have been found in the Zamora region of Ecuador indicate that cocoa was being used within the area as many as 5,000 years ago.
Cocoa began being exported from Ecuador by the Spanish in the 1600s. In the beginning the taste was not well loved by Europeans, but the idea of adding sugar to the substance emerged, and chocolate became much more popular.
Ecuadorian chocolate is special because it comes from cocoa beans called Arriba, which are considered rare. These beans produce chocolate that is considered to be of a high quality. The flavor is not as bitter as other beans, and has a fruit-like taste about it with a bit of spice. In addition, the climate and geology of the country lends itself to the growth of the best beans. The fact that there is bright sunshine for much of the year, and the volcanic soils are nutrient-packed all help to produce a superior bean. Where the beans are grown impacts on the taste, so beans grown at a higher altitude will taste differently to those grown lower down.
There are a variety of places where you can go on chocolate tours in Ecuador. One such place is Mindo, in the Ecuadorian cloud forest. Here you can visit a chocolate factory to see how it is produced and try some samples too. Cocoa farms can also be visited as a day trip from Guayaquil, and on this type of trip it is possible to both visit a cocoa farm and turn your hand to some chocolate making. Such a trip gives you a great insight as to how chocolate is produced, and you will get to try some fine artisan samples too. Also, on the coast, in the region of Manta it is possible to take a tour where you learn about the process of making chocolate and get to taste some delicious samples along the way. Even if you aren’t spending much time on the Ecuadorian mainland it is possible to have a chocolate tour in Quito itself, to experience the best cocoa the country has to offer. Some such options give you the chance to have a go at making some chocolate yourself.
If you haven’t got time to visit a chocolate factory or take a cocoa tour in Ecuador, chocolate connoisseurs needn’t fear. There are still opportunities to try Ecuadorian chocolate. You could simply ask your guide to take you to buy some chocolate. Look out for a brand named Pacari, which makes organic chocolate. This company has won numerous awards for its fine, tasty products. Kallari is another company producing delicious chocolate. Ironically this might be easier to find in a supermarket in the USA than in Ecuador, since much of Ecuador’s chocolate is exported. Another option if you want to try the best of the best is to try and get hold of some To’ak chocolate. This is the most expensive chocolate, costing approximately $260 for just 50 grams (1.5 ounces) of chocolate.
Ecuador and Galapagos Insiders has expertise in offering customized Ecuador vacations to suit a variety of different needs and interests. If you want to visit a chocolate factory or cocoa farm, or simply try some Ecuadorian chocolate on your Ecuador trip, just let us know and we can arrange this for you. Contact us now to get started in organizing your tasty chocolate tour in Ecuador.