Ecuador: The Home of Cacao
Latin America is widely known as the birthplace of cacao - however recent archaeological research suggests that the original home of cacao was Ecuador. Ceramic pottery has been found, containing ancient remnants of cacao and dating to 3,300 BC - meaning that cacao beans have been grown and eaten in Ecuador for over 5,000 years.
It wasn’t until the 16th Century that cacao was known outside of Latin America, when the Spanish conquistadors were introduced to a traditional chocolate drink, known as "xocolatl”. However the conquistadors banned exports of cacao until 1789 – choosing to keep the profits in Latin America and not in the Spanish government’s coffers.
With the export ban lifted, Guayaquil became the world’s first cacao port and began a period of cacao monopoly which would last for nearly 150 years. The Ecuadorian cacao trade roared until disaster struck twice in the 1920s - when a disease blighted the cacao crop and the reverberations of the stock market crash destroyed the Guayaquil cacao industry.
Today the Ecuadorian cacao industry has returned its former glory and is recognised as the global leader in cacao production, producing over 60% of the world’s finest cacao - Cacao Arriba. The high quality of Ecuador’s chocolate can be attributed to our perfect mix of terrain, climate and equatorial location. As you journey around Ecuador and across Latin America, the changing climate, soil and altitude results in vast variety in terms of flavour and qualities.
We are proud to grow and wholly produce cacao in Latin America, especially proud to have returned cacao production to its spiritual home in Ecuador.
Learn more about the history of cacao in Ecuador.
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