When a friend asked me if I want to go to Mindo, Ecuador, there was only one possible answer: YES!
Mindo is the place for biodiversity and natural beauty. Mindo sits in a cloud forest in the Andes Mountains at 11,290 feet above sea level in northwest Ecuador, a few hours from Quito. It’s also a place for making chocolate. Among the best-in-the-world chocolate.
El Quetzal de Mindo Chocolate Growers and Manufactures
I love chocolate. El Quetzal do Mindo offers tours showing how chocolate is made “from bean to bar” and with a tasting at the end. The tour we chose was given in English by the owner’s brother. It was more than a half day plus event and worth the $10 for the tour.
El Quetzal grows some of their own organic cacao, which is the large beanlike seed where cocoa (and therefore chocolate) come from.
But they primarily source from regional organic farms that are at a better altitude and climate to grow Cacao.
Fermentation and drying of the beans occurs where the beans were grown.
Then the beans are roasted at El Quetzal, then refined where the nibs are turned into a smooth molten chocolate.
Finally the chocolate is tempered, molded, and hand-wrapped.
At the end of the tour, we enjoyed a wonderful tasting.
El Quetzal makes chocolate bars that are 67% pure, 77% pure, 87% pure, and 100% pure. By contrast, a Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar runs about 11% pure chocolate. Keep in mind that 100% pure means without sugar, milk, anything, so this may not be to everyone’s preference as it will retain some bitterness and a roasted taste.
They also make bars in flavors like sea salt, pure cinnamon (wow!), sea salt and sesame garlic, and tropical fruit (another wow!).
I believe this was a taste of Miel De Cacao which is the fruit syrup from the cocoa (yes the same one used to make the chocolate). It was amazing.
Oh yes and of course their brownies. The smile says it all.
Thank you for reading. Check out my other post about Mindo, Ecuador: