Sure Quito is home to 500-year-old church or two, though most don’t realize it’s also one of the centers of the world’s chocolate industry. Ecuador’s Arriba Nacional cacao bean is the most sought after the world over and Quito chocolate shops, cafes, and activities have become a point of reference for chocolate lovers:
Kallari Cafe: The group of indigenous Kiwicha making bean to bar chocolate called Kallari now has a chocolate lounge in Quito’s trendy La Mariscal, which sells the bars and nibs alongside rainforest handicrafts and jungle breakfasts. kallari.com
Pacari Chocolate Tasting at Casa Gangotena: The excellent organic chocolate maker Pacari is giving tastings at Casa Gangotena, a stunning new boutique hotel in the Centro Historico, often with the co-owner of the company, Santiago Peralta. They give you the chance to test bars with beans from different regions of the country, such as Manabi or Esmeralda, with different percentages of cacao. Try to grasp the terroir, which can be even more distinguishable than a glass of wine. pacari.com
Jeffrey Stern’s Chocolate Making Classes: An American pastry chef moves to Ecuador and starts his own chocolate company. He’s offering half day chocolate making classes, which include teaching in making bonbons filled with Amazonian flavors. jeffreygstern.com/
Galeria Ecuador Gourmet: All sorts of artisanal food products, ranging from coffee to indigenous liquers, now have a home in this two level shop and café in La Mariscal that sells many hard to find chocolate items and snacks. galeriaecuador.com
Republica de Cacao Café: This is a polished version of a chocolate bar. A Starbuck’s for chocolate almost. All sorts of decadent chocolate sweets, bars, liquors, and snacks. republicadelcacao.com
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.