Organic Chocolate in Ecuador

blog-chocolate.jpgKallari bars are considered to be some of the best chocolate around (at least by pastry chef Kate Zuckerman–see this article–and Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert). Available in Whole Foods markets, they are a sweet you can feel good about buying: Over 850 Kichwa families living in the Amazon rain forest region of Ecuador have formed the Kallari Association, which grows the cacao used in the bars AND coordinates the production of chocolate from their own beans. Plus, 100% of profits are returned to the Kallari Association, allowing people in the area to make a living by doing something other than clearing trees in the Amazon. (Watch this NBC video or read this NY Times article to learn more about Kallari.)

Kallari farmers are one of a small number of groups who farm, make, and market their own chocolate (another such group is the Grenada Chocolate Company, which operates from Grenada, in the southeastern Caribbean). But what’s unique about Kallari is its foray into cultural tourism: now you have the chance to eat the chocolate in Ecuador, where it’s made.

To taste the chocolate in a restaurant setting, head to the Kallari Cafe, in the new town section of Ecuador’s capital city, Quito. They offer a three-course cultural dinner, with traditional Amazon dishes and a 15-minute presentation on Kichwa culture, including language, crafts, and methods used in their organic coffee and chocolate production, all for $7.50 per person. (They can handle groups of 10-25 people, but you have to schedule it two weeks in advance.) If you have less time, pick up a sandwich and a smoothie for lunch. And snag a piece of the Amazon to take home in the form of organic chocolate and coffee or Kallari handicrafts.

Fast Facts: Quito’s new town neighborhood is known for its shops and restaurants, but be sure to make your way to old town’s museums and churches for a cultural experience: La Compania de Jesus and Museo de la Ciudad are favorites.

La Mitad del Mundo (The Middle of the World) is a monument just north of the capital that straddles the Equator.

Photo: Kate McCormack

Comments

  1. Stacy
    July 28, 2009, 4:29 pm

    Makes me hungry!

  2. Jet Set Life
    July 29, 2009, 6:34 am

    Makes me hungry too! Thanks for the info. I’m sure my readers would love this as much as I did.

  3. Kelly
    July 29, 2009, 9:22 am

    Much better chocolate in Switzerland
    http://pinacoladakisses.blogspot.com/

  4. Steve
    July 29, 2009, 12:18 pm

    Who took the HUGE bite out of the chocolate bar in the picture?
    Interesting article!

  5. Sarah Aldrich
    July 29, 2009, 12:36 pm

    Kelly–I’ll let the experts decide who has the best chocolate because I love just about all of it, but it IS nice to see some competition in the global chocolate market, which has been dominated by Switzerland for so long. Competition usually leads to better products–good for chocolate lovers!
    Full disclosure: the bite marks are mine. I couldn’t write about something without trying it first. But that was two bites, not one!

  6. Greenheart Travel
    July 29, 2009, 2:05 pm

    Thank you for the article! I’m very lucky at my job to enjoy that wonderful chocolate!

  7. Doreen Pendgracs
    July 29, 2009, 4:20 pm

    Thanks for the article. I’m always interested in finding out about good chocolate and will be writing a book about it. Have you compared this to the organic chocolate from Costa Rica? The name is Kopali Organics.

  8. food photography singapore
    August 17, 2009, 10:26 am

    really luv chocolate!!

  9. David
    September 4, 2009, 5:43 pm

    But i heard the best chocolates are made in Switzerland.Is it not true? Best Hotel Rates

  10. Leslie Anderson
    September 23, 2009, 7:18 am

    Thanks so much for sharing this post. I hope I could buy one of this. I guess I must have tasted all the chocolates in the world but this one is something new to me.

  11. Monika
    October 23, 2009, 6:33 am

    Nice article. Article have excellent organic chocolate.

  12. Maurice
    March 8, 2010, 1:21 pm

    I agree with this article. I tried many chocolates around the world and I have to admit that this chocolate is indeed the best chocolate I have ever tried!

  13. J Sandy Hepler
    July 3, 2010, 10:11 pm

    Nice. Similar happenings in Nicaragua where I’m hosting a tour of finest cacao– during the harvest– this October/November. See http://www.SaveTheChocolate.com for details
    Sandy

  14. technologiez
    July 27, 2010, 5:28 pm

    There have been numerous studies about the effect of chocolate on mood…..it is evident based on the popularity of chocolate that people do turn to chocolate during stressful times.

  15. jon
    October 2, 2010, 1:18 pm

    Thanks for the article.. I go to Kallari all the time in Quito but had no idea that they were in the states!

  16. Ximena
    October 15, 2010, 2:04 pm

    I LOVE Ecuadorian chocolate!! And know it is gotten to the point in which it rivals ANY chocolate (gourmet or not) made any where else in the world. “Yeah!!” for Ecuador since it IS in fact one of the largest producers of cacao to begin with. Another brand to try would be PACARI, and they have a “raw” bar that truly is a different chocolate experience!