For the fifth time in seven years, chocolate produced the Ecuadorian Pacari brand has won the most awards at the World International Chocolate Competition. Pacari won 18 gold, silver, and bronze medals in this year’s competition, held in London.
In a new category established by the judges, Ecuador took the “best country of origin” for chocolate products prize.
“These awards are regarded as the olympics of chocolate,” says Santiago Peralta, founder of Pacari. “The competition involves 2,500 samples that undergo several rounds of blind tasting by 600 judges. It is a very rigorous process and very fair,” he said.
According to Peralta, the entries that impressed judges the most were dark chocolate made from cocoa beans grown in Los Rios, Manabí and Esmeraldas provinces. “Our prize for the dark, organic cedrón chocolate is based not just on the finished, processed product, but on the high quality of cocoa beans grown in Ecuador.”
In comments accompanying the “best country of origin” award, the judges acknowledged that Ecuador may be home of the cocoa bean. “There is archaeological evidence that chocolate was first harvested and consumed in Ecuador’s Amazonian region more than 5,000 years ago,” the comments said, noting that traces of chocolate have been found in Ecuadorian ceramic pottery dating to 3,300 BC.