Marou Vietnam Lam Dong 74% 89/100

DSC_0651

These trinitario beans are grown on small farms in the Lam Dong province at the foot of the Central Highlands of the Annamitic range, south east of neighbouring Dak Lak. Once harvested and fermented these beans make their way to Saigon, where Samuel Maruta and Vincent Mourou turn them into one of Marou’s beautiful chocolate bars.

DSC_0905

I’m beginning to get the impression with Vietnamese cocoa, that a categorisation of earthy cocoa and powerful red berry acidity has many expressions, within the bounds of just one country country. Here we have another cocoa made from a particular area within Vietnam and I expect some more of the same and yet at the same time something different. Small variances in this countries terroir seem to have a significant effect on the complexities of the chocolate, while at the same time maintaining a core set of flavours. Opening the bar I’m presented with Marou’s signature big M slab and breaking a piece off, there’s some earthy and acidic aromas like much of Vietnamese cocoa, but there’s a refined and clear simplicity that’s noticeably different. Placing a piece in my mouth, the texture is particularly smooth with a syrupy edge, as it releases flavours of earthy cocoa that quickly move to fruity and acidic notes of cherries and redcurrants. As the bar lengthens out there’s a flavour reminiscent of custard cream biscuits that helps to smooth out and balance the bar. Finishing with a peppery spice, this bar presents itself in seamless stages that move from one set of flavours to the next without leaving any marks. This is a softer and more balanced version of Vietnamese cocoa, than I’ve experienced, offering a strong and resilient cocoa base that offers support to some loose fruity and acidic tops notes. This smoother and more delicate version of Vietnamese cocoa offers a slower pace and more contemplative mood in which to enjoy this origin, best enjoyed on a lazy afternoon just to slow things down a little. 

Ingredients: Cocoa, cocoa butter, cane sugar

Appearance 8.5/10

Colour: Darker earthy brown
Texture: Weathered/polished smooth granite
Mould: Marou big M segment slab
Snap: Crisp, thick
Temp/Shine: Matte gloss

Aroma 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Intense earthy cocoa, redcurrants, acidic grass
Quality: Acidic, refined

Melt/Mouthfeel 9/10

Length: Long
Evenness: Even
Texture: Smooth, syrupy
Quality: Smooth, full

Acidity 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 5
Notes: Redcurrant, cherry
Quality: Soft, rounding

Sweetness 8.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Ripe fruit, cherry syrup
Quality: Developed, honest

Flavour 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 8
Type: Sweet, bitter
Notes: Earthy cocoa, cherry, redcurrant, custard cream
Quality: Soft, balanced, clear

Length 9/10

Flavours are soft and mellow, but long lasting the length of the melt, rounds come unevenly on the peaks of acidity

Finish 9/10

Notes: Cherry, custard cream, cocoa, pepper, spice
Quality: Cherry fruit flavours and custard creams fill the end, before cocoa and peppery spice on the finish that lingers with light prickly spice for an age

Balance 9/10

Soft flavours balance well over an earthy base, strong structure provides plenty of anchoring for loose fruity flavours, with base and top notes complementing each other

Overall 9/10

Bar has a good amount of depth and dimension, clear distinct flavours are well balanced, deep structure is consistent, expression is smooth and mellow, but feels honest of terroir, while processing imparts a smoothness to the chocolate


Marou’s Tasting Notes: This rare and delicate chocolate is made in micro-batches from cocoa beans cultivated in hilly woodland at the edge of the Vietnamese central highlands between Madagui and Bao Loc.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s