I’ve wanted to get my hands on Marou for a long time, and I was finally able to do that when I stopped by Blüprint Chocolatiers in Alexandria, VA, and I saw they were selling chocolate bars by other brands. A huge thanks to them because I would have to otherwise wait longer to try Marou!
If you want to read an informative Q&A that delves deeper into Marou’s thoughts on chocolate, read this article from their blog. To read more about their “listening” to terroir and how it affects the flavor of cacao, they’re observing the affects of fermentation time, temperature and pH on three batches of cacao. Through the Q&A, you’ll learn that the chocolate makers behind Marou are from France, but they decided to base their factory out of Vietnam since the idea of making their own chocolate began while they were living there. Through the articles on listening to terroir, you’ll gain a deeper understanding as to how temperature and pH are related to microbial activity during fermentation, the first step of preparing cacao for becoming chocolate.
What makes Marou unique is that their cacao comes from Vietnam. Usually we hear about cacao coming from South American or African countries, but since cacao grows 20 degrees north and south of the equator, Vietnam falls into that band (as well as other eastern countries, but that’s for another time). According to Marou’s website, an attempt to introduce cacao to Vietnam occurred in the late 19th century by the French. It was a struggle at first, though they don’t go into detail as to why. A second attempt was made by the Soviets when Vietnam was under the USSR’s power, but that didn’t work out as most of the trees were chopped down anyway when the Russians pulled out and there was no profit to be gained when there were no buyers present. Nowadays and as the third attempt to further establish cacao trees in Vietnam and with the help of international organizations supporting small farms, there’s been a focus from chocolate makers and other organizations to encourage cacao growth in Vietnam. Marou wanted to help the Vietnamese people since the economy of Vietnam is largely base off of agriculture and the wealth would be spread amongst the rural people. They also support having no middle man, so any purchasing of cacao means the money goes straight from Marou to the farmers.
The 78% Ben Tre bar uses cacao from the Ben Tre province in the Mekong Delta where the cacao trees are planted along with coconut trees. You can check out the map under “History” on Marou’s website to see the colored in sections showing which part of Vietnam the various cacao for the bars comes from. I couldn’t really smell much from the chocolate. The flavor took a while to develop as the chocolate didn’t melt very quickly. I tasted something like a tart fruity flavor from the chocolate. The bar was described to be intense, but it wasn’t that strong to me.
The 70% Dak Lak bar was added to the line of Marou’s chocolate bars around July 2015. The description says that it has spicy and earthy notes and that the cacao comes from the district of Ea Kar in Dak Lak province. The chocolate’s scent had a hint of spice, and tasted more spicy, though not burn-your-mouth spicy. It was a subtle spice like cinnamon. I didn’t really taste much for earthiness. The chocolate was smooth and melted easily in my mouth. I really liked this bar! I’ll have a hard time sharing this one…
Because of how thin the bars were, I really liked their delicate, dainty snap when broken apart. I hope to try more of Marou’s bars in the future!
Marou: Made in Thailand
These are my personal thoughts and experiences. I did not receive pay or any compensation for reviewing any products. Website links to articles, companies and other sources of information directly related to the topic written within the posts were included during the time of writing and the writer will not be held responsible for future changes on such website links. All images are original and the property of Time To Eat Chocolate unless specifically stated otherwise.