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Sweet Stone's Ecuador Guide

Sweet Stone's Ecuador Guide

When Sweet Stone’s Barbara Carvados visited Ecuador recently, she skipped the usual tourist traps.

Operating from the Sweet Stone kitchen in Sydney’s northern beaches, the Brazilian chocolatier creates sophisticated, couverture version of a traditional confectionery from her homeland: the brigadeiro. 

Her enterprise demands the best kind of research: chocolate research and, of course, tasting.

“Through this I fell in LOVE with South American chocolate, especially Ecuadorian and Peruvian,” says Barabara. “Being from South America, I was drawn to the story and flavours of the cacao that was used and really wanted to learn more.”

As her chocolate mastery grew, Barbara realised that in order to gain a greater understanding of the process and take her business to the next level, she’d need to go and connect with local producers. 

With over 80% of the worlds cacao being harvested in Africa, Barbara decided to  support the movement of bringing cacao production back to its origins in Latin America.

So in May this year, she and her partner Ross went on a highly researched, grassroots bean-to-bar chocolate tour of Ecuador.

Today Barbara shares her three must-visit destinations from her trip.

Destination #1 Vinces

“In Ecuador we visited the cacao plantations in Vinces, enabling us to see the whole process from picking the cacao pods, fermentation, drying, through to the stage when the cacao beans are ready to eat,” says Barbara. 

“Fresh cacao fruit tastes like custard apple. So sweet.”

“Local farmers bring their beans directly from the plantation to the collection centre to be weighed. The beans are usually 3-4 hours fresh.”

‘Plantations usually ferment the beans for 6 to 7 days before drying them.’

“Beans are naturally sun dried on a cement floor through a transparent ceiling, and temperatures can reach up to 140F.”

Destination #2 Turucucho

“Turucucho is a local community at the foot on the Cayambe volcano.  We were fortunate to visit the local milk collection center, giving us a grass roots experience on how local farmers help produce the chocolate we eat and love all the way over in Australia.”

“I’ve never met people as happy and fulfilled people as the Turucucho community. They live in harmony and peace with each other.”

Destination #3 Quito

 "Quito is where we were shown how the final products were brought together making the delicious chocolate we eat and create with!”

As a result of the trip, Barbara has established partnerships with local producers and collectives.

“The producers focus on delivering sustainable cacao plantations dedicated to supporting the local farmers who work hard in delivering some of the most varied, unique and delicious strains of cacao to the world,” says Barbara.

Including all the way to Sydney’s northern beaches.