MAROU, Faiseurs de Chocolat is the first bean-to-bar craft chocolate maker in Asia. The company based in Ho Chi Minh City was founded by the French-born pair Vincent Mourou and Samuel Maruta, inspired by the common mission to create the purest dark chocolate from 100% local ingredients—they even press cocoa butter themselves and so they avoid buying it from third party suppliers as most chocolate makers do. With passion and patience, Vincent and Samuel revisited the old history of cacao in Vietnam: a crop introduced to Indochina in the 19th century, forgotten during the war years and finally rediscovered in the last decade.
Being not only the first artisan chocolate maker based in Vietnam, but also the first to produce chocolate in the same country where the heirloom cacao trees grow, MAROU is also one of the few so-called “pod-to-bar” chocolate makers in the world. Working in close collaboration with farmers, cooperatives, and cacao experts, MAROU is aiming to make Vietnam a widely recognized origin for gourmet chocolate.
(bars purchased at French Broad Chocolates Boutique in Asheville, NC)
Ba Ria 76%
Ingredients: cocoa & cocoa butter (76% cocoa), cane sugar (24%).
Tasting notes: fruity notes, especially red fruits. The chocolate melts with a slight astringency.
Tien Giang 80% (Wallpaper Edition)
Ingredients: cocoa & cocoa butter (80% cocoa), cane sugar (20%).
Tasting notes: high in spice, tobacco, and nutty flavors. Also detectable are hints of milk, cream, bread. Good roundness in the palate.
Lam Dong 74%
Ingredients: cocoa & cocoa butter (74% cocoa), cane sugar (26%).
Tasting notes: high in raisins, with a harmonic background of bread and butter. The color reminds milk chocolate.
Dong Nai 72%
Ingredients: cocoa & cocoa butter (72% cocoa), cane sugar (28%).
Tasting notes: smoked spices, especially cinnamon, amplified by the highly fine melt in the palate.
Ben Tre 78%
Ingredients: cocoa & cocoa butter (78% cocoa), cane sugar (22%).
Tasting notes: a robust chocolatey flavor, without presenting astringency or bitterness.
Nobody loving good chocolate could ever go wrong with the quality proposed by MAROU. All the chocolate bars tasted are very distinct in terms of flavors, reflecting the meticulous care for origin expressed as different cacao genotypes and regions from the same country.
Of the bars listed, I was particularly impressed by Tien Giang 80%, Lam Dong 74%, and Ben Tre 78%. Lam Dong is also the only Vietnamese cacao origin winning the Cocoa of Excellence Awards in 2015 (read more about the importance of this competition for the specialty chocolate industry and the full list of winners HERE).
Where to find MAROU Chocolate
MAROU has rigged up a vast network of stockists and retailers selling their chocolate in Asia, Europe, America, and Oceania. Please, check the info about your country below: