Ecuador’s cacao zone is to chocolate cognoscenti what Bordeaux is to wine-lovers. Ivory Coast and Ghana lead the world in the production of bulk cacao – the stuff that goes towards your average Cadbury or Hershey’s bar – but the cacao grown in the strip of fertile plain running from the Pacific Ocean to the foot of the Andes, which takes in the provinces of Guayas, Esmeraldas, Manabí and El Oro, is a cut above. Cacao de arriba, as the local variety is known, has depth, subtlety and haunting aromas that run the gamut of tropical and citrus fruits, nuts and berries, flowers and spices.
At the heart of the cacao zone, an hour outside Guayaquil, lies Hacienda La Danesa, a 500-hectare estate specialising in cacao de arriba. La Danesa has recently found fame as a pioneer in “cacao tourism”, bringing visitors from the coast on a narrow-gauge railway. Stepping off the train, they enter a different world. Read More via 1843Magazine.