Fine aroma cacao has been tied to Ecuadorian history for millenniums. Recent scientific studies show evidence not only of its early presence, but of its cultivation and consumption by the inhabitants of the South East of what is now Ecuador over 5.000 years ago.
According to the investigator Juan Carlos Motamayor, Cacao has its origin in the high –Amazonia, in the area where the borders of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru meet. As an exotic product of symbolic and economic exchange, it was sent to far places both to the North and East. This is how cacao travels all the way from the Amazonia to the Maya and Aztec civilizations, where it was used both as currency and as a sacred beverage.
Cacao is known in the Western world thanks to the Spanish that discovered it in Mexico, and later, in 1528, Hernán Cortez introduced cacao into Spain.
Cacao was exported from the Coast of the Audiencia de Quito since the XVI Century. With the crisis of the textiles, cacao became an even more important part of the economy. The first Cacao Boom was produced between 1780 and 1820.
Since the end of the XIX Century until the beginning for World War I, Ecuador lived a time of opulence known as the era of the “pepa de oro” (gold seed). Large haciendas belonged to only a few families, known as the “Grand Cacao”, who had great economic and political power.
However, the second decade of the XX century was the beginning of the end of the “Boom Cacaotero”. In 1916 there was a plague and then World War I meant a reduction in the international demand. At the same time, the English, French and Dutch colonies in Africa also increased their production of cacao.
Ecuador is still the first producer of Fine Aroma Cacao, and continues to export to demanding markets such as those in Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, USA and Japan.
The Era of the Boom unequivocally marked Ecuadorian farmers. They have preserved the knowledge of cacao cultivation, transmitted for generations.
Nowadays, Ecuador not only exports premium cacao, but also produces excellent chocolates. Such is the case of Pacari, which has won more than 180 international awards! Pacari was the 2016 winner of the International Chocolate Awards World Final, which takes place in London every year. Their chocolate competed against over 950 products from all over the world.
This ethically sourced brand works directly with small farmers to preserve traditional ways of cultivation and the genetic diversity of Ecuador’s cacao.