I never realised how gluttonous my office was until I came back from a month away. As I sorted through my inbox, nearly a quarter of the internal emails were headed with “I baked muffins, everyone try one”, “I bought chocolate, it’s on the staffroom table” and “Baked a cake, come get a piece”. Every. Single. Day. We’re a small office, but we’re definitely a group of people with a preference for sweets and treats.
When I was given the opportunity to try the range of Marou Faiseurs de Chocolate, my colleagues were naturally the people I turned to for their thoughts. They bandied words around like “Incredible”, “Chocolate Revelation”, “Silky”, “Elegant”, “Smooth”, “Fruity”, “Raw”, “Choc Purists Only”and from one wordsmith – “Crikey!”.
But who are Marou Faiseurs de Chocolate?
Marou Fraiseurs de Chocolate is the first range of single origin dark chocolate to come out of Vietnam, the brainchild of two Frenchmen. It’s very much a small industry, gourmet style chocolate, with the cacao beans sourced from a variety of family-owned cacao farms in southern Vietnam. Each bar has a distinct flavour, characterised by whether the beans have been grown in the shade of coconut trees, or in the wet Mekong Delta.
There are four varieties, each with a different strength of dark chocolate.
- Tien Giang 70% – a full-bodied chocolate with spicy, fruity notes, made from cacao organically grown by farmers of the Cho Gao Co-op in the Mekong Delta.
- Lam Dong 74% – a rare and delicate chocolate made in micro-batches from cacao beans cultivated in hilly woodland at the edge of the Vietnamese Central Highlands between Madagui and Bao Loc.
- Ba Ria 76% – a bold and fruity chocolate made from Trinitario cacao sourced directly from select farmers in the Ba Ria province.
- Ben Tre 78% – a more intense but balanced chocolate grown under the shade of coconut trees in the Mekong Delta.
The attention to detail starts with the packaging. Each bar is individually hand-wrapped in beautiful thick paper in vibrant shades with gold embossing. The raw stock of the paper itself suggests the home-grown, organic, genuine cottage-industry nature of the chocolate, with the intricate designs celebrating its Vietnamese heritage.
The bar of chocolate is wrapped again in a luxurious gold foil, and stamped with a beautiful, unique design.
As for the chocolate itself – I found each bar to be well tempered, with a clean snap at each of the break lines without any crumbling. The different flavours were also surprisingly distinctive – providing a point of difference from bar to bar that I didn’t expect. As one of my colleagues said, this is chocolate for chocolate purists, for those who love dark chocolate unadorned with any flavour enhancer.
If you’re a food purist, this is the chocolate for you. Marou is now being stocked in select retailers around the world – click to see if it’s being stocked near you!
To win a pack of four Marou chocolates, leave a comment below telling me how you share sweets and goodies with the people in your life.
Competition is open to Australian residents only and is open until 5pm AEST 9 August 2013. The winner will be chosen at random and contacted via email.
Gourmanda received a sample pack of Marou chocolates for review purposes. All words are my own.