Saturday, May 11, 2013

Marou Dong Nai 72% bar - May 11, 2013

Chocolate of the Day:

Marou Chocolate
Dong Nai 72% bar
Good ++
Weight: .875 oz. (25 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total bar
Calories: 146 calories
Cost: $10.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA

Today was Day #2 of Chocolate and Vietnam Theme Week.

I've been working my way through a line of single origin dark chocolate bars from Marou Chocolate (based in Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon, Vietnam). The five Marou bars I have range from a 70% Tien Giang bar to a 78% Ben Tre bar.

Today's attractive, glossy Marou 72% dark chocolate bar was made from cacao beans grown in the upper Dong Nai region. The bar had good balanced fruit acidity with a slight raisin flavor; however, I did not taste the cinnamon note that I enjoyed in yesterday's 70% Tien Giang bar.

Merci to the French for introducing cacao to Vietnam in the late 1800s. I'm guessing cacao is largely grown in the southern part of Vietnam, in the Mekong River Delta area, and in the Highlands, in areas with taller trees that can help provide shade for cacao trees.

Marou 70% Tien Giang bar - May 10, 2013

Chocolate of the Day:

Marou Faiseurs de Chocolat
Tien Giang 70% (bar)
Good ++ - Very Good
Weight: .865 oz. (25 g.) in 1/4 bar / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) total bar
Calories: 147 calories in 1/4 bar
Cost: $10.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: The Chocolate Garage, Palo Alto, CA

Tasting chocolates from one country has been a great way to learn more about the history, culture and flavors of a specific place in the world. Welcome to Day #1 of Chocolate and Vietnam Theme Week. There aren't that many artisan chocolate makers from Vietnam. One of the first (of possibly more to come) is Marou - Faiseurs de Chocolat, whose founders have French roots.

Today's 70% dark chocolate Tien Giang bar from Marou (Saigon, Vietnam) was made with Trinitario cacao beans, "organically grown by farmers in the Cho Gao Co-op in the Mekong (River) Delta."

Tasting notes on the packaging describe this bar as full-bodied. The bar gave off a very faint smell of sweet tobacco, although when I bit into the bar, there was no tobacco taste, but rather a nice, acid-fruit flavor spectrum -- primarily raisin/plum with some spice, rum raisin cinnamon toast.

Très Jolie
The beautiful "wallpaper" packaging used to wrap this line of single origin bars (from different regions, farmers, co-ops in Vietnam) was mesmerizing, as good design often is. I found myself laying out the family of five different Marou bars I bought from The Chocolate Garage (Palo Alto, CA) -- onto a large, lush green, banana leaf-colored paper with a side of pearls, just so I could admire them all. Très chic.

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