24 August, 2011 - The First Aromas and Flavors of Chocolate of Ecuador Fair took place on July, 27th, 2011 at the National Agriculture Research Institute’s (INIAP) Pichilingue Experimental Station, outside of Quevedo, Ecuador. The event was implemented by the Ecuadorian NGO Conservacion y Desarrollo, along with 11 cocoa growers’ association and INIAP and was financed by The World Bank’s Development Marketplace Program.
The event was attended by over 1000 cocoa farmers, as well as over 200 members of the national press, leaders in the cocoa/ chocolate industry of Ecuador, members of government agencies and donors. The day consisted of visiting the stands of the 11 growers’ associations, where each association provided tastings of their unique chocolate bars, crafted with high quality machinery purchased through the project for INIAP’s chocolate laboratory. The fair was the culmination of over two years of work among the project partners to improve post-harvest quality at the level of the growers’ association, develop a branded image and narrative in a participatory manner with each association, provide associations with training and opportunities to present their chocolate to various actors in the cocoa value chain and produce high quality chocolate bars for non-commercial purposes at INIAP. The aim of these activities is to increase the awareness among cocoa growers and chocolate makers on the diversity of Ecuadorian cocoa due to various factors, best summed up as “terrior” in order to improve quality, create more direct commercial relationships, and improve the price for growers. Visitors also had the opportunity to tour the new chocolate making facilities at INIAP and learn how chocolate is made. The event was a huge success, with positive reviews and wide coverage by local media. It is hoped that financing can be secured in the future to continue this event on a biannual basis. For more information on the project, please visit http://chocolatedesabor.blogspot.com or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.