Travel to Ecuador #11

Hello my fellow chocolate lovers,


I am Takanori Chiwata, the chocolate engineer of COCONAMA CHOCOLATE.


From now on I would like to talk about the Ecuador trip I had the chance to take the other day. I want to make these posts like my travel journal, so excuse my broken English!




It was sadly our final day in Ecuador. Our flight was at 6:00pm, and we were at salon du chocolat Ecuador until then, so we were looking around until the very last minute.


Salon du chocolat is an annual chocolate festival that is held in Paris, and currently held all over the world, including Japan and New York City.


Unfortunately, we’ve never attended the actual salon du chocolat in Paris. In Japan, however, it was more business-like atmosphere rather than a festival. It was just vendors from all over the world selling their products in one place.


We were very interested in what the salon du chocolat of Ecuador was like as it is a producer country of cacao.

Salon du chocolat of Ecuador was held in an event hall-like place of University of San Francisco’s campus.



We were excited as soon as we got inside with the sight of cacao remains and models of the cacao’s fermentation process and dryer.








We were struck with a cultural enlightenment with the displays of cacao industry’s history and the maps of domestic cacao farms.





When we entered the venue, we were welcomed by the children from Amazon. This was something we could experience no where else!




The fact that the sponsor was the association of cacao really played a big role. The association was disseminating information, leaving the commercial aspect aside. I could tell that these people were really enjoying what they were doing. That was “salon” for you. I felt the real meaning of social gathering.



There were many chocolate maker and cacao processed product vendors at the venue, but it was more to do with cacao itself unlike Japan. Salon du chocolat in Japan had many vendors of famous chocolatiers in Europe, but we spotted many local cacao products and bean to bar chocolates at Ecuador’s. We saw Nestle and Lindt there, but of course, they were displaying products of Ecuador.





We also had some samples of dishes using cacao. Below is pork simmered in cacao sauce. It was unbelievably delicious.




Rather than the chocolate, the main focus was on cacao itself.

A booth of a chocolate maker named “Minka” left a strong impression. Their booth was entirely built from a cardboard box! How cool is that?


They even built the tables and chairs beside their booth with a cardboard box! Pure amazement right there!



Their chocolate was delicious, and not just that, but their wrappers had a good taste too!



This chocolate maker below was also delicious.




This photo shows chocolate-covered fruits, using the famous cacao and fruits of Ecuador. Chocolate covered definitely tasted worthy of bronze award! The harmony of rich fresh pineapple and the bitterness of cacao left me in coma.


Sorry to change the topic, but we actually heard that there was a Japanese guy who is growing cacao in Ecuador, so we decided to meet up at salon du chocolat.


Say hello to our friend, Mr.Takahashi!




He was enchanted by the Nacional in Ecuador, and is currently working hard to create a chocolate using the finest quality of Nacional.



We exchanged information regarding cacao and he told us a lot about his life in Ecuador. There were so many more things we wanted to talk about, but our departure time was nearing, so we regretfully headed to the airport.



Our route back home was Ecuador to Panama, Panama to Mexico, and finally from Mexico to Vancouver.



It may have been the fact that we travelled to Canada, El Salvador , Ecuador, Panama, and Mexico just within 5 days. The guard went through all our luggage thoroughly in Mexico. Back in Vancouver, we were escorted into a room,where they went through all our luggage again. All they found were chocolates, of course.


We kind of pushed our Ecuador trip by leaving on Monday and coming back Saturday, but it really was a meaningful experience to the both of us.



All thanks to our staff who sent us off and kept the store running during our trip!





Now, that is it for my Ecuador cacao’s trip journal.


Next time, we will be posting about the trip journal of the true heroine of this trip, Kayoko!


With hopes that you will be able to encounter the perfect chocolate just for you,


Takanori Chiwata