The Chocolate of Western Ecuador


Chocolate connoisseurs know that Arriba is the must-have chocolate bar experience during their Ecuador tours. Arriba beans are appreciated for their fruity and flowery taste. The tree species derives its name from where it grows, meaning “above” in Spanish, in particular, the upper Rio Guayas, north of Guayaquil. The beans are also grown in western Ecuador’s provinces north and east of Guayas.

Ecuador has established export standards that divide Arriba cacao into three categories, according to the quality of the beans. Superior Summer Selected is the highest grade, comprising a very small percentage of Ecuador’s cacao exports. Superior Selected is a lesser grade than Superior Summer Selected but higher than Superior Epoca, the most plentiful of the Arriba beans exported by Ecuador.

The well-known French company, Richart, describes the taste of its Ecuador-based Arriba bar, the Equateur 82%, as “conjuring up the images of a fresh wet meadow and young forest flowers with hints of blackberry and orange citrus.” Who could resist that divine concoction? Better still, travel to Ecuador and enjoy a chocolate bar or hot chocolate beverage in the Arriba homeland. Chocolate bars are more popular in cities than the countryside, so visitors will be more likely to have the chocolate experience on Ecuador tours outside the country’s growing regions than where cacao trees actually grow.