When you think of Miami's Little Havana neighborhood, you think of fifty-year old cigar stores and the best Cuban coffee shops in the world. What about chocolate? It's never crossed your mind, but it's about to be the sole thing you think about from now on, because Miami's first chocolate factory just opened there! As a self-proclaimed chocolate lover, I cannot be happier about the fact that I can get my fix of Cuban pastelitos AND chocolates in the same trip! 

Looking through their website, you'll find that their chocolate is not the only thing that will lure you to visit this factory. The story of how the factory came about and the incredible way they get their ingredients are definitely attractive. How much better can this place get?

What They Do

I had the privilege of working with Carolina Quijano from Exquisito at this year's SOBEWFF in February, before they opened the factory this past May. Speaking to Carolina, I could sense the passion she has for chocolate. I mean, who doesn't, am I right?

They source their beans from the best family-owned farms. That's right, beans! At Exquisito, they roast the beans themselves in long processes, making them one of the only factories truly turning beans to chocolate bars themselves. This adds to the quality and delicious flavor of the overall chocolate...another reason why their chocolate is just so good!

On a wall in the factory, they have an adorable hand-painted story of their process. From hand-cutting the beans, fermenting, sun-drying, cracking and winowing, to shells removed, conching, refining and molding, the illustration explains it all. The words are accompanied by adorable, simple pictures that help you understand everything clearly in a visual way. They also have pictures of each of these numbered steps on their Instagram Story highlights.

Something I love that they do is that they collaborate with other companies. For example, they have collaborated with a beer company and have given them cocoa for their stout! They form amazing and unlikely partnerships with other brands and every one produces amazing results. They really exemplify the importance of a community of many local businesses coming together to help each other grow and succeed. Seriously...again, how much better can this place get?


They have started to garner some attention from local media, such as the Miami New Times and the Miami Herald, who did an article about them just before they opened. They even got the attention of famous Miami Instagram foodie The Succulent Bite, who showcased a smores-type dessert when he saw them at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival.

The Miami New Times article talks about the owner Carolina Quijano's career, and how she got into the chocolate business after she had a well-paying job in finance consulting in Manhattan. It wasn't until she was in Paris for work and was strolling through a holiday market, until she found a hot chocolate that changed her life. Since that moment, she knew she had the desire to open her own chocolate factory.


They have won three awards from the Academy of Chocolate in London (which is widely considered the Oscars of chocolate): one for their bars and two for their truffles. This Academy receives roughly 1,200 submissions from around the world, so receiving an award is a truly a great honor. They also have been named one of the Top 50 locally made gifts in the Unites States by Travel & Leisure.

Hours and Tours

Right now, they are only open Thursday and Friday from 11 am to 6 pm, and 11-7 pm on Saturday. Throughout the summer, they will also offer interactive group demonstrations, where people can take part in the chocolate making process. The very first demonstration will be held on Saturday, June 16th. Private tours are also available upon request. For tickets, you can go to their website under "factory tours".

You can check them out on social media: on Instagram for all the latest news, and on their website for other information.