To mark the start of UK Chocolate Week, we choose to reflect on the story of cacao, one which is wide and mysterious, its exact origin is unknown. Several cultures consider that cacao fruit was given to earth by the gods, particularly the people located in Mesoamerica. The lilac colour of its seed, made the fruit exclusive for consumption in the noble stratus. With it, they generated a drink with a bitter taste and the color of blood, which gave vigor to those who drank it, believing that it generated a connection with the ancestral world.
In Ecuador, cacao “arriba” is considered of first origin denomination since 2008. This title is obtained thanks to its almost unique origin, known as the father of all other cacao. In addition to this, the ancestral knowledge that is required for planting, cultivation and harvesting the fruit.
The history of cacao leaves behind its ancestral roots and permeates abuse and blood after the conquest. The great cacao farmers resorted to slavery for their cultivation and harvest. In the 1800, the economic strength of cacao declined, the gold seed that until then was immortalised even in notes, was attacked by plagues. And after an unpredicted fall, Ecuador resorts to its other natural resources, opening the doors to the banana era.
For many years, cacao remained in the background, until the industrialisation era in which the techniques of chocolate production around the world were perfected. Cacao “arriba” was reborn internationally as one of the best raw materials for the most recognised chocolates in the world. The techniques of biogenetics and the familiarisation of practices like grafts, generates the appearance of new species of cacao that grow in different climates, with varieties in color and flavor. These species have contributed to the large number of chocolates that exist today.
It is not until the last two decades, that Ecuador came to produce chocolate projects as a final product. The strengths of a privileged location in the world are taken into account in this new era. Among these strengths we find cacao “arriba” and the ancestral knowledge of small producers, managing to result in a superior product. The great biodiversity of fruits and flowers, generates unique flavors along with chocolate, allowing you to find a world of flavours that include natural benefits for those who consume them.
Companies like Pacari Chocolate have managed to place Ecuador on the map, as a producer of fine aroma cacao and world-class chocolate. In this process, they have rescued ancestral knowledge and natural flavours, accompanied by sustainable processes and fair trade practices. The producer is part of this new era in the history of chocolate, just like every consumer who shares a part of Ecuador, in each bar.