In November 2014 we packed our bags to find out more about the cocoa regions of Ecuador. This expedition led to exclusive bitter chocolate of 71 % “Cocoa Nacional Ecuador”, a soft but pure cocoa taste with a hint of flowers. Combines very well with cherries, cinnamon and lemon. Vintage chocolate lovers claim that this cocoa, grown along the Guayas river, is the best in the world.
Try our origin bar from Ecuador, available in our webshop, and get a taste of our story.
“Señora Lourdes Delgado”, leading lady in the local cocoa-hype, knows every grower, every plantation and makes her own chocolate ! This famous “Madame Chocolate” was our guide in Ecuador. “Gracias Lourdes y un grand beso” No lounging with this lady but “real life” ! So, in our 4x4 (a necessary luxury here), from the capital Quito, following the coast to the border with Peru and back via the jungle, 1200 km.
She taught us about their national pride, the “Arriba Cocoa Nacional” and together we visited the INIAP, the university cocoa research centre.
Colour, the Spanish-colonial atmosphere and hospitable head-hunters offspring… the real mummified heads are to be found in museums, the fake ones, made of pork skin, in souvenir shops.
We are in another world : locally distilled aguardiente of 60° alcohol at $5 per litre. To be honest, my bowels could stand it better than the local cheeses that cost me 4 kg and quite a few visits to the “Farmacía” and the “aseos” ! A manioc roll was a better choice.
Fire at the gasoline station ? Break the glass, put on the protective suit and start extinguishing – not exceptional because gasoline is cheaper than water and it degreases well, so clean the pavement with gasoline, preferable without smoking.
We spend the night in a lodge in the chocolate-jungle, as a guest of Elisabeth (canadian) and talked to Dirk (dutch) who- for a good cause - crossed the American continent from the most northern point of Canada to the most southern tip of Argentina.
Mountains, valleys, greenery, waterfalls, picture postcard landscapes, and more cocoa…
And then in awe for the philosopher’s stone : a mortar dated over 3000 years B.C. We paid our respect. Microscopic analyses show remains of cocoa. This could mean that more than 5000 years ago we already harvested and drank cocoa.
Could it be that there is really nothing new under the sun ?