The smooth, warm feel of chocolate melting in my mouth overwhelms my memory of our visit to Ecuador. The warm sun felt wonderful to this Pacific Northwest girl, but the hospitality of the people I met continues to warm my heart long after I returned home.

We went to Ecuador looking for a flavor cacao bean to make our chocolate with. I hoped we would also find farmers to buy directly from and we did! Having been raspberry farmers for 17 years, our heart was still in the “dirt” which drove us to pursue a heart connection with our farmer.

Surrounded by cacao trees in my view, in Anna’s kitchen we roasted and tasted beans like she does with each fermentation batch. I appreciate how she knows her beans and actually makes chocolate from them. She sincerely takes pride in growing and selling quality. This is what I wanted to bring home to share with my community.

Being with Samuel and Anna on their farm and in their home left me with a warm connection to a face on my chocolate.