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Ecuadorian Chocolates – A Description
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In the strictest sense, the Ecuador chocolate is indeed produced from the cacao in the upriver areas of the Guayas River in the various lowland provinces of Ecuador. This would particularly include the areas in the province of the Guayas, Bolivar or Los Rios provinces in the strictest sense.
Legend has it that a Swiss chocolatier in the nineteenth century, while in the phase of navigating along the Guayas River, encountered the men bringing down the freshly harvested cacao. Upon smelling it, he asked where it came from, and they responded "de Rio Arriba" or the upriver. Since then, this variety of the fine aroma cacao has been completely known as the Arriba. Arriba is indeed ultimately a type of the terroir label for the beans grown in the region of the Ecuador upriver from the Guayas River, with a specific flavour profile often very well characterized as having a very distinct floral aroma. The climate, amount of the sunshine and shade, the soil composition, ripening, time of the harvest, and the bean fermentation are all the major factors that may very well contribute to the unique Ecuador Arriba flavour profile.
If a denomination of the origin were to be particularly established based on the legend, then only the cacao from this area could truly be called Arriba. Nonetheless, there are numerous companies and the brands that sell their products with the fashionable label Arriba. Because Ecuador chocolate is a major producer of the fine flavour and the aroma cocoa, the label implies the chocolate is made from extremely fine flavour and the aroma beans. And though much of the chocolate labelled Ecuador chocolate may come in part from the Los Rios and the Guayas regions, technically the home of Arriba cocoa, much of it may also come from other provinces of the Ecuador. These particular provinces may include the Esmeraldas, Manabí, Napo, Orellana, Santo Domingo, Sucumbíos, and others. The beans from these areas are not known for, and never have been recognized for having the distinct Arriba flavour profile.
Another distinction often not mentioned regarding the chocolates labelled Ecuador Arriba is the actual variety of the beans the chocolate is produced from. In Ecuador, there are two main varieties of the beans, Nacional and CCN-51. Genetically, Nacional is very much considered a Forastero bean. However, Nacional grows only in Ecuador and the alleged attempts to particularly grow it in other regions have not produced the same flavour profiles.
With the increasing emphasis on the overall traceability and the origin, and increasing transparency in the chocolate industry, we may indeed see the overall availability of the true Ecuadorian chocolate increasing.
Russ Murray is the owner of this website and writes articles for his own website. For further details about ecuadorian chocolates and ecuador chocolate please visit the website.
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