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Over fifteen years ago I made the trip to the Saquisilí market a few hours south of Quito. I didnt´really know what I was looking for or what I was going to buy when I got there. But like so many places you go to explore and come back with something you didn´t expect to own, or maybe didn´t even know existed, I came pack with several hand-carved wooden masks used in traditional festivals held by Ecuador´s native peoples. The masks are often used in dances that take place in small towns to celebrate certain seasonal and/or quasi-religious events. The men who wear them have often been drinking. And things sometimes get rough, very rough, even deadly. None of this ever occurred to me when I bought the masks. Nor am I strong believer in the hocus-pocus idea that maybe the masks had some kind of bad energy. So the masks have been hanging in our house, on the walls, for the last 14 years, until we moved just this February.

The idea of getting rid of them came from our friend Margara Anhalzer, the owner of one of Quito’s very high-end craft shops. Her store, called Olga Fisch, the name of the Hungarian immigrant who started the store several decades ago, carries exclusive Ecuadorian handicrafts from all over the country. Somehow, in one of our stops over there to leave off some of our chocolate products which she sells, the topic of the masks came up and she was the one who suggested they might have bad energy and we should maybe consider getting rid of them. I think we had been discussing how the business was struggling and we still weren’t sure we were going to make it.

Anyway, we gave a mask to each of the movers who helped us. I hope they didn’t really have any bad energy and that all these helpful fellows are still doing just fine. Coincidentally, though, the business is doing a lot better.

Through simple word of mouth and perhaps just coincidence, people have started to look for us more than ever. A new client, another owner of an artisan crafts store in Quito’s old city, surfaced in February and began buying chocolates, several hundred a week, and has been coming back regularly ever since. From Guayaquil, a woman who owns a pastry shop  found us on the internet, and we started business with her a little over a month ago. These are good solid wholesale accounts.

And finally, as I mentioned some time ago, our private client which owns a gourmet chocolate brand sold here in Ecuador and overseas, for whom we make filled chocolates, is having fairly brisk sales at the Duty Free Shop in the Quito Airport, and while not great sales in the Plaza Foch, it’s still money in the bank. For those of you still curious to know who it is, I’ll give you a few hints…the first part of their name starts with the spanish word for Republic-as in Banana Republic-but ends in the spanish word for Cocoa, as in Cacao.


Welcome to Destination Ecuador!

Welcome to Destination Ecuador! My family and I have been living in Ecuador for the last four and a half years. We’ve dealt with the worst kinds of red-tape, searched out or ended up making hard-to-find ingredients ourselves, imported equipment for making chocolate confections, learned the import-export business...Continue >>

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