Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Marou Faiseurs de Chocolat - Mekong Kumquat 68% Tien Giang (bar) - Mar. 9, 2021

Chocolate of the Day

Marou Faiseurs de Chocolat
Mekong Kumquat 68% Tien Giang Single Origin (bar)
Good ++
Weight: 1.4 oz. (40 g.) / 2.8 oz. (80 g.) in total bar
Calories: 220 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $9.00 for 1 bar  
Purchased from: Bar and Cocoa, online order 

Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate and JKLM Theme Week, where I'm featuring chocolates with flavor inclusions and origins that start with the letters J, K, L and/or M.

Today's Mekong Kumquat 68% Tien Giang Single Origin Vietnamese Chocolate (bar) was crafted by Marou Faiseurs de Chocolate--chocolate makers in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), Vietnam.*

The kumquat** is a small, orange, "inside out" citrus fruit that can be eaten whole, peel and all. In fact, the most edible part is actually the sweet rind. The inside contains a relatively small amount of tart, acidic fruit and seeds.

This bar had an aroma with smooth dark chocolate, bright sweet-tart apricot and aromatic citrus, light spice, very faint fleeting earth, and very, very faint malt/cereal notes. 

It had an even, smooth, dark chocolate melt, texture and flavor. (There were no detectable textural bits of fruit.) Fruit flavor and citrus fruit acidity were uniformly present throughout the tasting experience, although these elements shifted in an almost magical way from bite to bite.

Do savor this chocolate slowly. The kumquat fruit took a while to bloom from "just" fruit-forward acidity to fully-formed kumquat flavor. Notes of sweet orange, dried apricot, neroli (orange blossom), aromatic lemon, and various fruit-floral qualities appeared and disappeared. And this elusive dance persisted during the full hour when this chocolate was tasted and re-tasted.

The maker's tasting notes read as follows: "From the lush orchards of Tien Giang province, this small citrus called kumquat adds a bright sweetness to the spicy notes of our well-known Tien Giang chocolate." 

Ingredients: Cacao nibs, cane sugar, cacao butter, dried kumquat

*Imported (to the U.S.) by: A Priori Specialty Food (Salt Lake City, UT).

**Kumquats (Citrus japonica, formerly genus Fortunella) originated in Eastern Asia. The small, oblong fruits can be eaten whole, sliced and included in salads and as garnishes,  and/or boiled with sugar and used in drinks, desserts, marmalades, jams and jellies.

Kumquats are cultivated in Southeast China and other Asian countries (e.g., Japan, Taiwan), and in the mighty (and agriculturally productive) Mekong River delta area in southern Vietnam. Kumquats have also been hybridized with other citrus fruits, such as the mandarin orange. Calamansi/calamondins include wild kumquat hybrids with Philippine limes/lemons (Citrofortunella microcarpa). And, Meiwa kumquat + Satsuma mandarin orange hybrids are known as "Orangequats".

And if you visit Vietnam during the Lunar New Year, you will see these small evergreen, citrus trees in pots, loaded with small orange fruits, everywhere. They'll be strapped to the back of motor scooters and small flatbed trucks, whizzing by you on big city streets.

Tien Giang province, located south of Ho Chi Minh City, is one of 13 provinces associated with the Mekong River delta area in southern Vietnam and where today's cacao was grown. The more temperate/tropical south is where fruits (especially bananas), coffee, coconuts and cacao are cultivated.

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