Saturday, 3 January 2015

Marou - Ben Tre 78% Dark Chocolate
At Christmas I am your ideal person to buy a gift for. Why? Well, just gift me a few chocolate bars, truffles or such like and I'll be as happy as Larry for several days, possibly months! 

Of course, this year all my presents were wonderful even those pairs of socks! But one of them particularly appealed to me. A bar of Ben Tre 78%, single origin dark chocolate, that had been on my list of chocolates to try for 2015.

Vietnam is not a country that springs immediately to mind as a cocoa producing country. My memories of Vietnam were shaped by the many Hollywood blockbusters including Apocalypse Now, Hamburger Hill, Full Metal Jacket and of course images of Napalm Girl. Oh, and not forgetting MASH! The Americans infamously dumped millions of gallons of Agent Orange onto the country in order to destroy Vietnam's jungles and ultimately the cover it provided the Viet Cong. Interestingly, Ben Tre was mentioned in the Viet Cong's failed Tet offensive of 1968 where the town was pretty much destroyed by the Americans who were actually trying to save it.
Well things have certainly moved on in terms of agriculture since the 60's. Overseas investment has meant that small businesses such as cocoa farmers have flourished, making Vietnam one of the newest and most exciting cocoa producers in the world. 

In 2010, I reviewed two limited edition bars of chocolate from the UK's very own Marc Demarquette, a fine chocolate specialist. You can read the review here. The quality of Vietnam's cocoa is born out by the fact that Marc is still using their cocoa today, to find out more click here.

Ok, back to Samuel and Vincent, two Frenchman who followed their gut instincts and set up Marou. Essentially these guys have escaped the daily grind in spectacular fashion. Landing in Saigon where they literally hunt down the best and most interesting cocoa beans, design their own chocolate making equipment and then produce some amazing bean to bar chocolates. Voila! Now their chocolate is sold and enjoyed around the world.

Firstly, this is a big bar of chocolate not your measly 70g that seems to be standard and secondly it has been beautifully packaged and presented especially with a sumptuously thick golden outer. If James Bond purchased chocolate then this is what he'd buy.

I'm not usually a great fan of chocolate with a cocoa content over 65%. However, the fluidity of this bar is excellent with only a slight chalky mouthfeel.
A deep 'forest floor' aroma emanates from the bar as you open up the packaging. The chocolate is really well made and melts quickly with a relatively high fruit acidity with hints of liquorice. Overall a very enjoyable bar of chocolate, irresistible and super sexy....I've obviously eaten too much chocolate!

Buy online from Chocolatiers, priced at £5.35.

Marou is certainly doing good!

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