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Asparagus at the market is $3.50 a kilo, or about $1.75 a pound. At least some things are still cheap in this country!

Doing some reading today about the highly lauded Marañón chocolate coming out of Peru. Or more specifically, the beans are coming out of Peru and the chocolate is being made in Switzerland. As pointed out on www.thechocolatelife.com, it sounds like the beans are actually Nacional beans, of the variety originally native to Ecuador, but growing in a remote area of Peru.

Here is a video of Chocolatier Julian Rose of Moonstruck Chocolates discussing the chocolate covered cocoa beans he’s making with the chocolate. He says “these wonderful cocoa beans will be covered in its own chocolate, so this is very unique in the world. I don’t think it’s ever been done and it will be done with the best beans that have been on the market in the last 150 years.”

I’m not sure when this video was recorded, but it’s been over two years, that is as far back as 2009, when I began to make my own chocolate covered cocoa beans, made with chocolate from the very same beans. Unfortunately, as any regular reader of this blog is aware, I stopped selling my products in the US sometime over a year ago. However, for those of you lucky enough to be in Ecuador, the chocolate coated cocoa beans are available here. While our beans do not hold the claim to fame of being pure Nacional beans from original rootstock, they are Nacional variety beans grown in the Guayas River basin of Ecuador–which also makes them true Arriba beans. Arriba has been a frequently abused marketing term rendered nearly meaningless by its application to nearly every chocolate coming out of Ecuador, thus the emphasis.

It´s a good thing when someone can get first mover advantage because they have the marketing budget and clout to get the product known, even though someone may be doing or has been doing very much the same thing long before a “known” product gets to market. While I haven’t tasted this chocolate, I would be delighted to see someone do a tasting comparing some of the pure Nacional chocolate coming out of Ecuador that we use with this new chocolate.

I’m also always surprised to hear the observation that Nacional beans give a floral flavor to the chocolate. Of all the chocolates I’ve tasted coming out of Ecuador, and I mean chocolates made in Ecuador of pure Ecuadorian beans (which, by the way, are either made from pure Nacional beans, or a mix of CCN–51 and Nacional beans, or in the worst case pure CCN–51 beans, and not an “origin” chocolate whose percentage of actual Nacional beans is totally unknown and may even be on the low end of the scale), floral is not a word I would use to describe the flavor. Some might beg to differ, as Nacional beans have often been described as such.  As to this new chocolate, they also use the word “nutty” to describe the flavor, which is a descriptor I would use for chocolates made with Ecuador’s CCN–51 hybrid, but not Nacional.

I put together this brief video a few weeks ago about our other business, The Cocoa Pod. We had no idea this item would be such a hit and just by chance it´s really begun to garner interest. We take fresh cocoa pods (aka cacao pods), have them sun-dried and carefully cared for, and finally gently rubbed and polished. They are a beautiful item and can be used in chocolate shops, homes, coffee shops, etc.

Finally, 2 years later, got the header working so check out some of the new pics! Some new posts coming soon.

Price of 10 lbs. strawberries in El Quinche today-$5. Strawberry sorbet coming soon!

Readers, my apologies for my long absence. It’s been a difficult year-we shut down Aequare Chocolates and stopped exporting as we couldn’t get a hold in the US market. We attribute this to several factors including but not limited, nor in any specific order: bad economy, saturated market for chocolates, lack of experience, lack of funding, etc. We also met any number of shysters, hucksters, con men, snake-oil salesmen, and people who generally just suck all the oxygen out of the room when they walk in, whether they need to or not, along the way.

On a better note, we are producing for a client that will remain anonymous for the moment, but we can say it’s the gourmet brand of chocolate belonging to a major Ecuadorian-based multinational company that sells worldwide in over 38 countries. Their chocolate is available in the US market, but only in bar form. We were chosen, after five months of negotiations and five tasting sessions, to be their provider of filled chocolates.

They recently opened a store in the Plaza Foch in the Mariscal section of Quito. We hope they do well there, because it means we will do well. Also, if they can’t sell chocolates in one of the best locations in Quito, then it was just never meant to be. I say this for several reasons. One, because they are in the heart of Quito’s tourism district where the clientele exists. Two, because they are in one of the few locations in Quito where there is constant foot traffic. Three, because this week is Fiestas de Quito, and if they don’t sell this week, which should be one of the best and busiest weeks of the year, it is a good indicator that there is just not a large enough market to sustain a chocolate shop in Quito that focuses primarily on pralines (filled chocolates). For them, it’s not a problem, because filled chocolates is not the main focus of the shop-it’s more about merchandising their bars, hats, t-shirts, etc. and all the stuff that goes with the “aura” they’re trying to create around their products, but for its, well, let’s just say we’ll take it as a sign. And finally, with an optimal location and a beautifully decorated store, if they can’t sell, well, it’s a good thing we never made the investment to open a store here in Quito.

We are fortunately quite busy with the holidays, some consulting work in a number of areas related to chocolate and cacao, and other things. I will do my best to not have such a long hiatus and bring you more about Ecuador in the very near future!

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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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