Marou Vietnam Ba Ria 76% 91/100

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These trinitario beans are grown in the hills of Ba Ria province on family-owned farms, south east of Saigon. 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.

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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 I’m presented with sweet and fruity aromas of strawberries and raspberries with a slight floral tinge. Placing a piece in my mouth reveals a full and refined smooth mouthfeel that reminds me of clotted cream. To taste the bar is particularly fruity, more fruity than it is acidic, with flavours of raspberries and cherries, even the sweetness of the bar is fruit driven. The bar has a light tone to it, but it’s boldly fruity, fortunately this fruitiness is tempered by an underlying malty and creaminess that offers additional balance and refinement. There’s a little bit of wavering in the length and the balance with the fruitiness attempting to topple some great chocolate work, but the bar remains just within the bounds of quality, presenting itself as bold rather than unruly. In the end this bar offers great fruity flavours that are honest and clear, while offering plenty of dimension, it is this signature that gives this bar something original and individual that stands out and makes it so appealing. This bar would be perfect for, but underutilised in desserts, best enjoyed as a lively mood changer when in need of something bold and exciting, would pair pretty well with a raspberry ripple ice cream too.  

Ingredients: Cocoa, cocoa butter, cane sugar

Appearance 9/10

Colour: Medium brown, light purpling
Texture: Richly flaked creamy fudge
Mould: Marou big M segment slab
Snap: Crisp
Temp/Shine: Glossy sheen

Aroma 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Sweet fruity cocoa, strawberries, raspberries, floral
Quality: Fruity, honest, light

Melt/Mouthfeel 9.5/10

Length: Long
Evenness: Even
Texture: Smooth, syrupy, clotted cream
Quality: Refined, smooth, full

Acidity 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 7
Notes: Raspberry, cherry
Quality: Bright, rounding, lightly tart

Sweetness 9.5/10

Intensity(0-10): 9
Notes: Ripe fruit, raspberry syrup, jam
Quality: Fruity, developed, confectionary

Flavour 9/10

Intensity(0-10): 9
Type: Sweet
Notes: Raspberry, cherry, malt, clotted cream
Quality: Bright, fruity, honest

Length 9/10

Length develops throughout the melt, getting longest in the middle, malt and clotted cream stretch out as a base with raspberry and cherry acidity coming in waves to create the round

Finish 9/10

Notes: Raspberry, clotted cream, cocoa
Quality: Fruity notes fill the end before a clotted cream finish, that leaves creamy tones to linger on with an edge of cocoa to them

Balance 9/10

Raspberry and cherry flavours can come to dominate the bar and acidity comes in inconsistent waves, but creamy base and medium structure help to bring things back to the middle, bar stretches the boundaries of balance

Overall 9/10

Bar has depth and plenty of dimension, complexities are well managed, structure remains consistent, expression is honest and clear, with processing providing a great creamy base, but possibly requiring a little more stability


Marou’s Tasting Notes: A bold and fruity chocolate made from fine flavour cacao sourced directly from family-owned farms in the province of the Ba Ria

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