Saturday, September 10, 2016

Marou: Tien Giang 80%

I picked out this bar of chocolate at Todos Santos in Santa Fe for the following reasons: it's pretty, it's organic and the label describes the co-op where the cocoa beans were grown, the label also makes note of cocoa origin and percentage along with flavor notes, and I've never had chocolate made in Vietnam before. All good reasons.

The artsy gold and green paper wrapper certainly got my attention--though it's also the type of wrapper that makes me worried that the product won't live up to the hype. The wonderful news, however, is that this bar does indeed deserve good-looking packaging, as well as the good-looking angled rectangle design on the chocolate.

As you can see, this bar by Marou Chocolate is their Tien Giang 80% Dark. Specifically, the cocoa comes from the Cho Gao Co-op in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. In fact, the label goes on to say that Marou makes their chocolate "in Saigon using purely Vietnamese ingredients of the highest quality." Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this means the sugar is from the country, too. (There is no vanilla in this particular bar of chocolate.)

Now, I've fallen somewhat in love with the taste of this chocolate. It begins with more of a cocoa powder taste and an extremely slight dusty texture, then progresses into something deep and silver that reminds me of Guittard. Next it becomes more buttery and sweeter. There may be berry or perhaps banana flavor notes. As it finishes off melting, the chocolate becomes tender and warm. (I should note that the label identifies the flavor notes as "spice and fruit.") A soft and smooth and yet developing and interesting (as opposed to flat and boringly constant) flavor profile. Interesting to note, as well, that while the chocolate gives off a slightly bitter aroma, the flavor has no bitterness--and this is an 80% cocoa content bar, which is a bit higher than the more common 70's range (I do tend to flavor the 80's).

In fact, this is what I ask for in an 80% chocolate: an interesting layering of flavors without bitterness that makes me wince. (Granted, chocolate shouldn't be bitter enough to make you wince until you get up into at least the upper 80's, but sometimes chocolate under 80% is already more bitter than it should be. That is, bitterness can be part of the flavor, but only in certain ways.)

And that dustiness I mentioned? Honestly, it's so slight and the flavors come together so well that it simply doesn't much matter. I've forgotten it already.

This 2.8 oz/80 gram bar came in at $12. On the pricey side, for sure, but it is imported and it was from a cute little shop. I've never seen Marou products before, so I don't know if some locations might carry them at a lower price. Amazon seems to carry Marou bars for around $12, so perhaps that is average. Either way, though, this is a great bar of chocolate. And if it's something that you're not going to come across all the time, it's worth paying for. And, anyways, it's better to eat less chocolate than to eat bad chocolate (you may interpret "bad" as including production as well as taste). So definitely give this one a try if you enjoy a good, solid, and enticing dark chocolate.

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