República del Cacao: a unique experience and amazing stories to tell!
All trips are unique. They sometimes start with a lot of planning, some planning, or no planning at all. The uniqueness of the trips relies on the places you visit, the people you meet, the colors, aromas, anecdotes, and the relationships you forge. Not all unique travels are successful. I consider a trip successful when it brings a smile to my face, when memories around a picture are pleasant, and when you created new friends. That is how I feel about my travels through Ecuador to visit República del Cacao.
When I left Ecuador, I realized República del Cacao is not only about cacao, but also about the people, the community, and the togetherness that brings us a value-added final product. Starting with the farmers and agricultural professionals, all the way to a Pastry Chef in the USA, this togetherness is what’s all about.
Let me tell you more about this amazing experience at República del Cacao
Our trip started in May 2022, the planning was perfect from the beginning, and no details were overlooked.
Day 1. On the first day (after a good afternoon of rest from our travels) we were driven to a cacao tree farm. Working with the Savencia group for some years now, this was the first time I was able to be around cacao trees (it was a real treat). These magnificent but delicate trees are surrounded by mango, banana, papaya, and other fruit tree species creating a perfect atmosphere for flavor and quality. We were able to try the beans extracted from the pod and the sweetness of the white pulp.
The cacao tree is deeply rooted within the history of Ecuador, and you notice it in the explanations and passion of the locals.
After the cacao plantation, we were transferred to República del Cacao’s Vinces Collection Center where we were able to see firsthand the fermentation process and the drying of the beans. The team prepared a delicious asado lunch to celebrate us and we shared the meal making jokes and learning more about each other.
On day 2 we ventured into the warm area of Pacto where sugar cane is grown. We learned how to harvest cane (not an easy job) and the proper use of the machete. We experienced the entire process from planting the cane routes to generating new ones to the miracle of the Panela and the different ways it is packed.
On day 3 we had a long trip into the Andes, where we visited the Turucucho community and experienced the cow farm. We met some of the cows that provide the milk used as República del Cacao’s ingredients. It was great to learn about the family structure, the long hours of hard work, and the sustainability operation that brings work and income to many families. Getting to know the people from this community on a personal level was a moving experience.
Day 4 was bittersweet because this trip was about to end, but we still had so much to learn. We finally visited the last part of the chocolate process, the República del Cacao factory in Quito. We met the team that handles marketing, communications, sales, quality control, and more. At the factory, we took part in a chocolate tasting and experienced the process of creating the nibs from the beans. We saw the way that the chocolate is mixed into the machine to create those final chocolate discs we all love. After the factory, we were able to take a bus to Quito and visit República del Cacao’s retail store where they offer chocolate to the public and other types of refreshments, coffee, delicious ice cream, and more. I noticed the beautiful design with a great flow, the packaging of the retail line is simply exquisite, and the colors capture your eye everywhere you look.
After a good day of fun and work, we were honored with an evening cocktail in the city, chocolate set up from our Corporate Chef Andrea López (bonbons, and all types of different treats), and a final tour through Downtown Quito in a fun bus or ‘Chiva’ as it is known by the locals.
Finally, it was time to fly back home. I arrived in Ecuador as an individual, however, when I left, I was part of this community that is now enriched and motivated to tell the story about República del Cacao to everyone.
I can truly say that visiting Ecuador gave me new friends, new knowledge, and a renewed passion for the chocolate process. I was humbled by the entire experience, and I can honestly say that this was one of those successful and unique trips that will remain in my memory and my heart for years to come.
You can learn more about our USA team Experience Trip here: LINK
- Sebastián Postel, Senior RSM for the Southeast, Savencia Group
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