Saturday, January 3, 2015

Vietnamese Origin Chocolate by Marou: Bold Flavour, Great Story

As I mentioned in yesterday's article, I decided that in the first days of 2015, I would experience some 'firsts' in chocolate tasting....well, firsts for me anyway. Until January 1st, I had never tasted Marou's bean-to-bar chocolate, a brand that I heard so much about. And since it is made in Vietnam by two French men, it is difficult to buy in Canada (outside of Quebec).

Marou not only makes chocolate from the bean, but they make it at its source.  The cacao is all grown in Vietnam and their mission was to make "unadulterated chocolate made from nothing but cocoa and sugar" (ref). And that is exactly how they make it today.

I purchased only one bar of Marou's, Dong Nai 72%, and I am already regretting not purchasing others. The chocolate was just what I thought it would be: a serious, get-straight-to-the-cacao-flavour kind of chocolate. Bold flavour, bitter dark with the kind of tanginess and acidity only created by an excellent chocolate maker.
Marou's website described their Don Nai bar as made from 'pod-to-bar'. It is made with cacao produced at Marou's own drying and fermentation station in the Dong Nai Province (ref), and so the chocolate makers really have control over the entire process to develop its unique flavour profile. To me, this was a bar that has fruity zest and hint of spice with a lovely roasted aftertaste.
Vietnamese cacao has not been easily found in origin chocolates until Marou began boldly introducing it to the world.  And so this was not only a first for me in terms of tasting a new brand of chocolate, this was a first for me for tasting Vietnamese-origin chocolate.

In Canada, I was able to buy Marou's Dong Nai 72% chocolate bar from La Tablette de Miss Choco in Montreal, a bean-to-bar retailer who just launched an online sales site. You can also buy other flavours of Marou's chocolate and a few bags of beans from Vietnam on the same site.

Here are the key package details from the chocolate that I tasted this week:

Marou Faiseurs de Chocolat, Dong Nai 72%, 100g (3.5oz)
Marou Chocolate Company, Ltd. (Saigon, Vietnam)
Ingredients: Cocoa and cocoa butter (72%), cane sugar (28%). Soy, gluten and dairy free.