Ecuador is famous for a unique variety of fine flavor cacao known as Arriba Nacional. With an earthy richness accented by delicate floral notes, it is highly sought after for craft chocolate. The bean-to-bar scene in Ecuador is growing rapidly - this is an origin to watch for great craft chocolate made with local beans.
Based in Quito, Huma makes bars with beans from different regions of Ecuador, allowing you to experience not just fine Ecuadorian cacao but the local variations as well.
Aroma: floral and earthy
Flavor: In the beginning, dark earthy flavors - dark toast, coffee, brownie, slightly woody, molasses - are overlaid by a distinct, pleasant, red fruit acidity. The flavors develop into soft notes of caramel and a smoother peachy acidity with some floralness. The acidity nicely balances the darker flavors.
Recommendation: Highly recommended. A deep, vibrant flavor and a great tasting experience.
Batch info: Lot: 22 November 2019, Best by 22 November 2020
Aroma: gianduja, sweetgrass, sunflower seeds, raisin
Flavor: toasted almond, tahini, dry wood, toast, roasted peanut skins, mild savoriness like mushrooms, cured meat, tobacco, black tea, wood, brownie, halva, a little bit of spice. Lingers pleasantly for a long time, slight floral aftertaste. Little bitterness, very slight astringency, but not unpleasant. Toasty astringency rather than green and harsh.
Herencia is a farmer-owned social enterprise made up of over 800 families from the province of Esmeraldas, Ecuador. The fine flavor beans used to make this chocolate is sustainably grown, and better prices secured through direct trade ensure that the farmers can invest in themselves, their children, and their communities.
Aroma: soft raspberry, lime, and green vegetation
Flavor: slight citrus tanginess – lime, raspberry, some earthy flavors – flax, slight starchiness, soft caramel, very slight chalkiness, smooth, very little bitterness.
Recommendation: Highly recommended. Pleasant, distinct flavors with virtually no bitterness or astringency.
Batch info: 181031CH70, Best before April 2020
Aroma: suave frambuesa, limón, y vegetación fresca
Sabor: agridulce con notas de frambuesa y limón, un poco de sabor de vegetación – linaza, almidón, caramel, muy suave.
Recomendación: Muy recomendado. Sabores ricos y distintos, sin sabores amargos
Información sobre el lote: 181031CH70, Consumir antes de Abril 2020
Based in Mindo, Ecuador, Yumbos makes Tree-to-Bar chocolate from Ecuador's native fine flavor cacao. They produce a range of 60-100% pure dark chocolate bars as well as ginger, coffee, nibs, and chili inclusion bars and even a cacao barbecue sauce! If you are in the small town of Mindo, located in the gorgeous rain forest region between the mountains and the Pacific coast and know for fantastic birdwatching (Ecuador has nearly 1700 bird species), visit their factory and shop and pick up a few bars. They also have a shop in the historic center of Quito, Ecuador (Calle Benalcazar 226 y Bolivar, Plaza San Francisco, Centro Historico).
Ecuador 85% Pure Dark
Aroma: Rich, damp soil, mushroom, cocoa mulch
Flavor: Ganache, brownie, fudge, slight toasted almond, red wine, whiskey, floral. Very faint brown fruit and raw nuttiness/grassiness. Very dark, but not bitter. Rich, luxurious mouthfeel.
Recommendation: Highly recommended. This is the smoothest 80%+ bar I have tried. If you are in Ecuador, make a point to look for it.
Batch info: Produced August 23, 2019; Lot 85; tasted October 7, 2019
Ecuador 70% Pure Dark
Aroma: chocolate cake, leather, coffee, licorice, cooked pumpkin, dried cherries
Flavor: Creamy and mild, reminds me of some Bolivian bars. Heavy cream, whipped cream, creme fraiche, a very rich high fat mouth feel, fresh nuts, licorice, carob, very slight tannin, faint herbal notes, rose, slight starchiness like cornstarch-thickened chocolate pudding, virtually no acidity.
Recommendation: Highly recommended. Mild flavors and a satisfying, super-rich mouthfeel.
Batch info: Produced July 24, 2019; Lot 70; tasted October 7, 2019
Based in Quito, Ecuador, Mayta makes chocolate with beans from different regions of Ecuador, as well as fun inclusion bars like basil, mangrove, ginger, and blackberry.
Amazon Region 65%
Aroma: mild, slightly astringent, faint licorice, cocoa powder, molasses
Flavor: Very sweet, creamy, mild, Reese’s peanut butter cups, confectioners sugar – a slight chalkiness but not unpleasant, something slightly cooling - like menthol or very mild wintergreen, cocoa powder, raspberry syrup, raw sugar,
Recommendation: Recommended. A pleasant bar with interesting flavors.
Batch info: Lot APR19-20, Best by May 2020
Based in Quito, Ecuador, Pacari makes bean-to-bar chocolate with 100% Ecuadorian Arriba Nacional beans including a range of single-origin bars and bars with locally-sourced ingredients such as Andean rose, Andean blueberry, guayusa, passion fruit, Cuzco pink salt, and more. They also have a line of raw chocolate bars that showcase the pure flavors of Ecuador's fine cacao. Pacari is the first certified organic bean-to-bar single origin chocolate made entirely in Ecuador, and they are committed to using environmentally sustainable and socially responsible practices in their country.
Ecuadorian Cacao with Chili
Aroma: rich, mellow chocolate
Flavor: chocolate with a nutty, whipped cream richness balanced perfectly with chili. Spice is present but not overwhelming, and very smooth.
Recommendation: Highly recommended. Also makes excellent drinking chocolate! See the recipe here.
Batch info: Lot 19185; Produced 9 September 2019; Expires 9 September 2020.
Hacienda San Jorge 65%
Flavor: Sweet and very toasty with a little bit of fruit – toast, biscuits, and green apple.
Recommendation: Recommended with reservations. Pleasant, but not a lot of complexity.
Batch info: 2120620; Best by December 20, 2020
Hacienda La Zambrano 70%
Aroma: Toasty, caramel
Flavor: Nice. This bar has a combination of toasty and tangy flavors, which is unusual to find together. Toast and biscuits with an orange juice tanginess
Recommendation: Recommended. It’s pleasant, and it’s an interesting combination, but not exceptional chocolate.
Batch info: 2030320; Produced November 30, 2019
Hacienda Guantupi 100%
Aroma: coffee, cocoa, musty, saltine, toasted, salty/mineral
Flavor: Quite bitter. Saltines, burned roasted almonds, toasted grain, mineral, citrus pith.
Recommendation: Not recommended. Lots of bitterness, to the point of being unpleasant.
Batch info: 190925COMMK100; Produced December 27, 2019