Two of these producers are Palette de Bine, a Quebec-based craft chocolate maker, and ERITHAJ Chocolat, a French chocolate maker that sources beans from their own farms in Vietnam, but ultimately makes their chocolate in France. I purchased chocolate bars from both producers to see how they tasted, and to better understand the flavours of Vietnamese cacao.
Palette de Bine's Lam Dong Vietnam 72% chocolate bar is a very bold flavour combination containing fruity, blackberry and tart berry flavour, yet also woody and earthy. There is a nice mild acidity and a slight chalkiness, but so slight that it is not noticeable with every tasting. Regardless, I found it so complex and interesting that I kept going back for more.
Although the chocolate might benefit from added cocoa butter, the chocolate maker is committed to sticking with only two ingredients: cocoa beans and sugar. This commitment is commendable in this day and age of commercial producers adding artificial and unnecessary ingredients to chocolate.
ERITHAJ also makes a Vietnamese-origin Dark Milk chocolate bar called Mo Cay with 58% cocoa solids. An intense sour cream flavour is noticeable at first taste, with high acidity and possibly a little tobacco and spice. Like the 74%, it is not super-smooth in texture, but still a fine chocolate.
If you are looking to experience Vietnamese-origin chocolate for yourself, ERITHAJ's and Palette de Bine's chocolate bars, plus several of Marou's, can be purchased online at: www.latablette.ca. You can learn more about France-based ERITHAJ online here, and about Quebec-based Palette de Bine here.
Aside from Marou and the two mentioned above, here are some other producers that are making chocolate from Vietnamese cacao:
- Belcolade, a Belgian chocolate couverture producer, is now offering a Vietnam-origin chocolate with 73% cocoa solids from Trinitario beans, which is said to have a strong, acidic cocoa flavour, also with citrus, tobacco and woody flavours. (ref) View on the Belcolade site: http://belcolade.sitepreview.nu/def/en/product-range/origins/dark/vietnam-73
- Chocolaterie A. Morin, a French chocolate maker, makes a Vietnam 48% Milk Chocolate bar. In the U.K., find it on the CocoaRunners website here.
- Hotel Chocolat makes an 80% dark Vietnam origin chocolate from Trinitario cacao (find it here).