Talking Chocolate in the Amazon

By Kirk Siegler | October 24, 2015 | Ecuador

Saturday seems like an excellent day to talk chocolate, right? It’s my favorite day of the week after all, not to mention one of my favorite sweets. And it just so happens that Ecuador produces some of the finest chocolate in the world.

Here at Aprocel, a trading network for local cacao farmers in the Amazon, we’re checking out one step in a very long process of making chocolate: one that begins at the cacao farms along the Columbian border, to fruit fermenting and seed roasting to eventually that sweet rich bar you find at your favorite local grocer in the states.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend eating what this man is holding (and neither would any producer, for that matter). It tastes bitter, chalky and dry. You have to fight not to spit it out. But there is a faint hint of cocoa in there, and it’s not hard to imagine what a little butter, sugar and milk could do. In fact, that will soon happen to these gold wrapped bars before they make their way to exporters (about 95% of all cacao produced in Ecuador is eventually shipped to overseas sellers). 

Kirk Siegler is reporting from Ecuador on a fellowship with the International Reporting Project (IRP). This post was also published on NPR's On the Road.

View All Posts By Kirk Siegler

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