Chocolate of the Day
Tien Giang, Vietnam dark chocolate 70% (bar)
Weight: 1.15 oz. (32.5 g.) / 2.3 oz. (65 g.) in total bar
Calories: 190 calories in 1/2 bar
Cost: $13.00 for 1 bar
Purchased from: Bar and Cocoa, online order
Welcome to Day #5 of Chocolate and Vietnam Theme Week--a week with some excellent single origin bars made from cacao grown in southern Vietnam.
Aroma notes for this deliciously dark bar included: rich, deep dark chocolate; faint, earthy molasses and botanicals (maple, warm spices).
The texture was smooth and uniform.
Flavor notes included: rich dark chocolate with bold cocoa shimmering with subtle dark complexity (faint, balanced earth; faint, fleeting dark, sweet berries; and faint molasses and warm spice).
Bold and dark, yet also subtle and complex. These adjectives rarely converge in one chocolate. And oh what a beautiful, well orchestrated, convergence it was. The cacao was excellent, and so was the implementation.
This three-ingredient bar embraced the best traits cacao has to offer (across different varieties). The deep almost earthy boldness of a Forastero variety, the flavor and tart-sweet fruit of a Trinitario variety, and the beautiful complexity of a heritage/heirloom (South American) cacao (Criollo, Chuao and perhaps Nacional).
Even the choice of organic cane sugar seemed just right. The cacao was already, inherently deep and dark. I'm always curious about what darker versions of bars would have tasted like. Not here. Going with a higher cacao percentage in this case--where flavors "darken" with proportionately less sugar--made less sense. And the sugar helped showcase the bright-dark-sweet dark berry/dark cherry fruit flavor notes.
Maker's tasting notes: "cinnamon, wild ginger, cherry jam, Brazil nut."
Ingredients: Cacao Nibs, Organic Cane Sugar, Cocoa Butter
Allergen-related information: "May contain trace amounts of peanuts, tree nuts, soy and dairy.
*Tien Giang is one of several cacao-growing provinces in southern Vietnam. The southern part of the country is warmer, and well-suited for cacao trees. Some of the best cacao grows in areas that are close to the coast and the Mekong River delta.
** Marou was founded by Vincent Mourou and Samuel Maruta in Vietnam over a dozen years ago. It's not an exaggeration to say that the Marou team was largely responsible for the Chocolate and Vietnam Theme Weeks on Chocolate Banquet for the past several years. Marou works directly with farmers in at least five provinces in southern Vietnam and makes bean-to-bar chocolates in Vietnam.
The company also has enabled other high-end chocolate makers around the globe to obtain fine Vietnamese cacao for their own single origin Vietnam chocolate offerings--such as today's SOMA chocolatemaker's Tien Giang bar.