After just one international trip (to Nigeria in Sep 2021) since the beginning of COVID travel restrictions in March 2020, I traveled twice to Brazil and once to Colombia in July 2022.
After a two-month hiatus, October 2022 sees me back #OnTheRoadAgain with travels to cities in three international destinations over the course of about three weeks:
- Ecuador (Quito and Guayaquil)
- Portugal (Porto)
- Italy (Venice)
- I will not be going to Paris for the Salon du Chocolat. Reasons.
In this episode of TheChocolateLife::LIVE I will go over my travel plans in depth – why I am traveling, what I will be doing, and what I hope to see and learn.
I am also going to be asking participants if they have questions they would like to see answered. And, of course, I am interested in knowing what food and/or chocolate destinations I should visit in Porto (and maybe Lisbon) and Venice should I have the time.
Following is some history and an overview of my itinerary – I will be going into much more detail during the live stream.
This will be my first trip to Ecuador since 2005. (My first trip to a producing country was Ecuador in 2003.) I have been to the bordering countries of Peru and Colombia six times as well as to Bolivia (twice), Venezuela (once), and Brazil (four times) in the intervening years. But not back to Ecuador.
I will be spending the first part of my trip in Puerto Quito, which is about a two-hour drive west of Quito. There I will be participating in a regional chocolate festival. I was recommended by Raul Nieto, the founder and driving force behind the Itapoa Project, which has operations in Ecuador and Colombia. The Itapoa preserve in Ecuador is located in the Puerto Quito vicinity.
I have been asked to give at least three presentations over the course of three days. One of the presentations will take place on a cacao farm and will cover two topics: How to Make Chocolate and How to Taste Chocolate. The audience is expected to be mostly cacao farmers and chocolate makers from the area. The next presentations will be at the festival itself and will cover International Markets and Quality.
From Quito I will travel to Guayaquil. There I will visit at least three farms and have meetings scheduled with a big cacao farmer, a derivados y chocolate manufacturing company, the new national cacao museum, representatives of the national cacao federation, ANECACAO, and more.
In addition to the research I will be doing for articles on the people and companies I am visiting. At least one of those articles will be published in the Nov/Dec issue International Confectionery magazine.
Porto / Lisbon
While I have been to France (many times) and Spain (just once) and even Andorra (on the drive from France to Spain), I have never been to Portugal before.
I will be in Porto participating in a chocolate festival at the World of Wine.
WoW is owned by the Fladgate Partnership, which owns brands that include Taylor and Croft. More recently they have diversified into hospitality, owning a number of luxury hotels as well as operating seven museums and even more restaurants on the WoW campus. Fladgate Partnership also owns the Vinte Vinte (20/20) chocolate brand and there is a chocolate museum on the WoW campus.
The https certificate for Vinte Vinte has expired so I can’t embed a card. The URL is: vintevintechocolate.pt. I will check on the site over the course of the next few days (I notified the founder of the company) and when it’s renewed I will add the card.
The co-organizer of the Chocolat Portugal festival is the group that organizes the festivals in Brazil. I don’t know exactly what my place on the program will be just yet, but I am definitely looking forward to seeing Porto. And maybe Lisbon, depending on the schedule. If I do go to Lisbon I am definitely looking for recommendations on what to see and eat.
One thing I am not looking forward to is that my return from from Ecuador arrives at 14:00 on Tuesday and my flight to Portugal is scheduled for about 30 hours later. Just enough time to get a (good hopefully) night’s sleep, do my laundry and other necessary errands, repack, and head back to the airport.
The last time I visited Venice was back in 1986 on my first extended European trip, a month-long experience that began in Germany and spanned Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain, and England by train and by car. It was the first and only time, despite the fact I have traveled to Italy eight to ten times since.
I have been invited to participate in a new product innovation event and that’s all I can say at the moment other than the fact that it will unfold over the course of two days.
Fortunately, I don’t have to return to NY first – I will be flying directly from Portugal. I have some familiarity with the city from my last visit, and I don’t need to visit the Piazza San Marco or the Doge’s Palace. I have taken a gondola ride, been to the island of Murano, and attended what I believe was the opening exhibit Futurismo & Futurismi [Amazon affiliate link for the catalog; I have the copy I bought back then and carried around in my luggage for weeks] at the Palazzo Grassi, designed by renowned architect Gae Aulenti.
I am familiar with many famous Italian chocolate brands but I don’t know much about Venetian chocolate and confectionery – so any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
- Chocolate and dining recommendations in Guayaquil, Porto, Lisbon, and Venice.
- Questions you want researched regarding cacao and chocolate in Ecuador from the Zamora-Chinchipe-Mayo over 3500 years ago to modern times.
Live Stream Links
Watch/Participate on YouTube, Facebook, or LinkedIn.Visit TheChocolateWire Channel on YouTube
Leave them in the comments.