Published on August 9, 2019
Marou Chocolate – Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
In just three short years after leaving their corporate careers two French entrepreneurs Vincent Mourou and Samuel Maruta have created Marou Vietnam’s first bean to bar chocolate producer.
They make five bars of chocolate with the same Trinitario cacao bean sourced from five different terroirs in Southern Vietnam, Ben Tre, Tien Giang, Ba Ria, Dong Nai and Lam Dong. Each bar has unique characteristics – determined by the richness of soil, the rainfall and overall climate of the region.
The small farmers who grow these distinctive quality beans cultivate the cacao trees in the shade of taller fruit trees such as coconut or cashew. They then dry and ferment the beans themselves on their farms.
The fermented beans are transported to Marou’s chocolate factory in Saigon, where they are transformed into chocolate by bespoke machinery. They are roasted, winnowed, ground, conched, tempered and moulded into some of the most beautiful chocolate bars in the world.
“The qualities that define are chocolate are first the color should be a light, slightly reddish, brown, more mahogany than ebony,” says Maruta. “Then the taste should be complex and fruity, slightly acidulated even, before getting to more familiar chocolate notes, the finish should be long and fresh.” Maruta says Marou chocolate stands out for its aromatic richness, distinctive lack of unpleasant bitterness and smooth, melting texture.
Maruta says being close to the source is one advantage Marou chocolate has over other, larger chocolate brands; “Bean-to-bar makers in European countries or in the US, even the ones who really pay attention to their sourcing, can’t really visit their providers more than once or twice a year and no-one will sample each and every bag of cacao they buy, as we do. We enjoy working with our farmers and are paying 20% over the market price to ensure the beans we buy are precisely the quality we want.