If you love chocolate as much as we do, you're going to enjoy our online Cuenca Chocolate Tour. Yes, it's so good it's worthy of capital letters!
We're going to take you on a full meal where every course has chocolate in it. Yes, even the entrée.
Are you ready? Then let's get started tasting the best of Cuenca's chocolate.
Fortunately, all of our tour locations are in El Centro, Cuenca's downtown area, so we won't have much walking (virtual or otherwise) to do.
We're going to have a chocolate dessert later.
Right now we'll get warmed up with a scoop of the chocolate-iest chocolate ice cream sold in Cuenca. You'll find it in the La Fornace Gelateria.
La Fornace (pronounced "la for-nass," an Italian word meaning "furnace," and Gelateria, another Italian word meaning "ice cream shop") is a small pizza and ice cream chain in Cuenca.
The main restaurant on Remigio Crespo serves all manner of Italian food, but the other locations serve only pizza and lasagna, along with ice cream. We're going to start at the gelateria on Borrero, across from Hotel Santa Lucia.
Chocolate isn't very common in main courses, but it's much more common in Mexican dishes.
So now we're going to head to El Pedregal Azteca Restaurant, on Gran Colombia, across from Santo Domingo church.
We're about to enjoy a chocolate mole (pronounced "molay").
It's a chicken breast covered with a chocolate-based, spicy sauce.
You'll find that it comes solo on its plate. Jeff found that a bit odd when he enjoyed his, but the taste definitely made up for the empty plate.
Eat slowly and enjoy the spicy flavor, as the rest of the evening is dedicated to your sweet tooth!
Next, we're off to Frutilados on Simón Bolívar (near Parque Calderón) for dessert.
What you're going to experience is Chocolate Mojado (pronounced "cho-co-LAH-tay mo-HAW-do"), which translates to "drenched chocolate."
And this cake is certainly drenched. You could probably wring some chocolate sauce out of it. But you won't want to. And you probably won't want to share, either!
Now we'll slosh our way back up to Gran Colombia, to Café Eucalyptus, where we'll enjoy a late-night slice of wheat-free chocolate cake.
It's what amounts to a chocolate mousse, in our opinion, but oh, what a mousse it is.
Thick and gooey, with probably the darkest chocolate of any dessert we've had in Cuenca.
If this one doesn't cap off the tour for you, then your chocolate addiction is beyond help!
As a bonus, try their limonada, definitely the best we've had in Cuenca, and quite possibly the best in all of Ecuador. A refreshing drink without being too sweet.
There are dozens of lousy chocolate bars in Ecuador, and only a handful of good ones (okay, excellent ones!).
Many you'll find in Supermaxi stores here in Cuenca.
Pacari is sold in some specialty shops and in some restaurants. Pacari also has chocolate-covered ginger, banana pieces, and other fascinating goodies. You can also find Pacari chocolate at Supermaxi.
Jeff really enjoys the 55% Caoni Manabí and Los Ríos flavors (it also comes in Esmeraldas flavor, and all three come in 77%). They also have several other flavors, including a passionfruit milk chocolate variety. However, the price has gone up so much for these bars, that the fairly traded, organic Pacari is now a better deal.
There's also Kallari organic chocolate, produced by a cooperative in the Napo province, in the Amazon. Here's a great article about this chocolate, from the New York Times. Kallari bars are available at Supermaxi. The 70% is delightful.
(Thanks to Gary and Linda of www.pro-ecuador.com for discovering the NY Times article.)
República del Cacao chocolate comes only in dark varieties called Los Ríos, Manabí and El Oro (after the provinces where the beans are grown). This one is by far the priciest. You can find it at Supermaxi and at the duty free at the airport when you're leaving the country.
The beauty of this online Cuenca Chocolate Tour is that you can enjoy the real thing any time you're in Cuenca. Or you can simply relive it virtually by returning to this page again and again.
But we do recommend that you enjoy the real thing at least once. It's almost worth making a special trip to Cuenca! If you don't believe me, read this BBC article about Ecuador's chocolate.
And now we'll leave you with one last word...
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I just want to thank you both soooo much for creating this web site. I am originally from Cuenca but moved to New York 11 years ago and have not being back since. My husband and I are planning on visiting Cuenca over the Summer and this web site has helped me a lot.
When I came to the US we still had the "sucre," the bus ride cost 1,000 sucres and a pack of trident gum would cost 3,000 sucres. I am very nervous to go back, but thanks to your web site I now know what to expect.
My husband is American and Captivating Cuenca has taught him a lot about what my great city has to offer, things that I had forgotten about myself! :)
Thank You both so much! I cannot wait to visit Cuenca!!