An Ecuadorian chocolate bar among the best in the world
Eduardo do Valle
Evandro Rocha, Andres Molestina
The story of the businessman who transformed the cacao of Ecuador into the best chocolate on Earth
Belgium and Switzerland held the title for some time, but these days experts agree that some of the best chocolate in the world comes from Ecuador. Santiago Peralta, co-founder of Pacari, a local brand whose organic bars have earned praise from former talk show host Oprah Winfrey, endorses the opinion.
“I always found it strange that the country with the best cacao in the world did not also produce the best chocolate.” This is what led Santiago and his wife, Carla Barbotó, to visit some small farms. Their obsession with quality helped to certify the organic production of around 1,500 families.
It was the start of a journey that would defy the logic of the market. They adopted alternative planting techniques, utilizing concepts of biodynamics, and trained their farmers. “A lot of people had never eaten the chocolate they help produce,” he says. From their first award in 2012 down to the present, they've earned 250 prizes all over the world. “I think we've proven our place,” he celebrates, with an annual production of 3 million bars sold in 47 countries.
Still, for Santiago, Pacari's biggest triumph is at home, being that today Ecuadorians have access to one of the best flavors in the world.