Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mindo, Ecuador

This is our "home" in Mindo - it's part hostal ($15 per person per night including hot running water and breakfast), part restaurant, part coffee and dessert bar, and part chocolate factory.  Although it is not unusual in Ecuador (or any developing country) to see houses in various stages of completion, with El Quetzal it serves a purpose. The open air third floor is where the various machines are located for processing the cocao beans in preparation for export or to make some chocolate locally.  The concrete room behind the logo/name is where the bags of cocao nibs are stored awaiting shipment to the US and also where the grinder and press is kept to separate out the cocoa butter from the pure chocolate.  The cocoa they serve in the bar is 100% chocolate - NOTHING added - you must even spoon in your own sugar to taste. The beans used by by El Quetzal are of the "arriba" variety, endemic to Ecuador, and said by many to contain the very best flavor in the world.

Here's Amy enjoying breakfast on a typical December morning at El Quetzal.  She sure looks like she misses those cold, dark, New England mornings, eh?

Located in the middle of El Quetzal's organic gardens, this building looks like a plastic covered greenhouse on the outside, but inside is a cocao bean processing plant.  The multi-layered bins in the foreground are where the beans are fermented before spreading out on the drying racks in the background. Note the structural members of the greenhouse are exclusively made of bamboo.

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