Cuenca’s Easter soup, fanesca, is considered by many to be the best in Latin America and it is a tradition among Cuencanos to have at least one bowl of it during Holy Week.
At luxury hotels in Latin America, you are often shielded from the local marketplaces. In Quito’s UNESCO world heritage colonial center, which is not an upscale district by any means, there are now a half dozen beautifully restored colonial buildings turned hotels, though only one that I know of is encouraging you to step out and see how the locals really live.
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:
The indigenous Kiwicha farmer’s coop, Kallari, that completely runs and operates their own single origin artisanal chocolate company has had a small shop and lounge at Wilson and Juan Mera in the heart of Quito’s Mariscal for several years. Traditionally you could have a cup of coffee or pick up a few bars of chocolate, fair trade coffee, vanilla beans, or handicrafts designed in the indigenous village that the chocolate comes from. On a recent visit I noticed it was turning into a full blown Amazonian café with Wi-fi.
Ecuador’s Arriba and Cacao Nacional cacao beans are considered some of the finest in the world and international chocolatier’s have long recognized their superiority. Only recently however, have artisanal labels sprung up from within the South American nation, much of it organic, fair trade, and of superior quality than has ever been produced before.