Who We Are

I would like to tell you a little bit about the history of CHUKULATI CHOCOLATE CO.

It has been 18 long years since we emigrated to this beautiful country that has given us opportunities to get ahead, which was difficult for us in our country of origin - Ecuador.

We came looking for a dream, the dream to one day be independent and to provide a better future for our people, like all immigrants.

 

On one of my visits to the land where I was born, I found an old friend of my father, Don Lucho, drying approximately 20 pounds of cacao in the corridor of his house. I asked him if he would sell me a few pounds of cacao and he said that it was already sold to wholesale buyers, and of course at a very low price, which frustrated me a bit at not being able to get some cacao to prepare at home, just like my grandfather who is no longer with us, but who left us with the memory of an unparalleled flavor and aroma of freshly roasted and ground chocolate which is difficult to find here.

 

The Chocolate Market is saturated with confections and products, some of them taste good but the truth is that none of them tastes quite like grandpa's chocolate.

I am a stubborn woman, if I can call it that. I would rather say that I am a fighter, for when I have an idea in my head I cannot stay calm until I accomplish my desires. So, I continued my journey days later to the town where one of my brothers resides; Guaranda, a tranquil city at the center of Ecuador, with honest and hardworking people, with an infinite wealth of talent and productivity. Very close to this city is a town called Salinas, where for some time they have been making chocolates, cheeses, handicrafts and more. This cooperative is directed by a Salesian Priest who uses that vision and inspiration in helping the community form a cooperative of artisans and farmers of the area. 

 

They joined together and began to manufacture products such as chocolates, processing the cacao that was grown in those communities. The chocolates were delicious with flavors of peanuts, liqueurs, nougat, etc., but with an undeniable flavor reminiscent of the real chocolate of the “Grandfather ".

That’s when my idea of becoming a chocolatier began to be fed. Then the time came to return to reality, to return home. But it did not stop there. I began looking for a school where I would learn how to make chocolates like the professionals. It's funny ... you do not learn to make chocolates in a school, but it's a guide to start. So, I signed up and started my journey. There were difficult times and a lot of stress. Work, family, school, and the difficult economy did not allow me to invest as much time as I wanted in doing what I love most: making chocolate.

 

But that was the beginning, and I was soon able to capture the interest of my son Fernando. He was 20 years old and we started to practice to tempering the chocolate and little by little we were making certain confections with that delicious dark gold. We became familiar with that product, which, by the way is very temperamental, just like me ...

I returned to Ecuador, this time with Fernando, and we had the pleasure of visiting different cacao growing areas and the farmers and producers. We were able to recognize the places of origin of our chocolate in the provinces of Manabi, Los Rios, Esmeraldas and Pichincha.

 

On our return we acquired a fair amount of Single Origin Premium Organic Chocolate, because we knew that only then could we offer a quality product with that true and incomparable taste of Grandfather's Chocolate.

At the same time we acquired a tempering machine, molds and utensils that would help process chocolate.

Later we learned that we could not offer the consumer manufactured products without a town permit. Therefore, we needed to find a commercial kitchen. Not an easy feat to accomplish, but with the help and support of my husband we found and rented a space, where little by little we added the tools and equipment, and prepared everything to ensure that we would be granted a permit to produce food for human consumption.

 

It has been 18 long months since I signed a lease to have a space and make this dream a reality. Many visions, many ups and downs, but perhaps the most saddening was the loss of my husband who succumbed to the irreversible disease, ALS. He was my mentor and my support. Despite his limitations, he knew how to guide and advise me wisely until the moment when his regretful departure in June arrived.

 

As you might have imagined, it has taken me a while to recover to start up again or I would say ... continue with my Project.

The time has come to open the doors of my Adventure as Chocolatier in my dream called "CHUKULATI CHOCOLATE CO". I am pleased to offer a piece of my Ecuador for those who yearn to consume a quality product with real flavors, without preservatives, chemical colorants or artificial flavors. All the things that are affecting our health and therefore our whole life.

This is also an opportunity for me to help the small cacao growers who work hard in their farms to provide us with a wonderful product such as the "fine and aroma" cacao Arriba Nacional - A product made by Ecuadorian hands for you with love!

Liana Strider - Proprietor

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