t begins like an evocative tale from old Indochina with two French émigrés crossing paths for the first time while trekking through a Vietnamese jungle. But that’s how the co-founders of Marou — Faiseurs de Chocolat first met.
In Vietnam cocoa farms are small, intercropped plantations where cocoa trees can grow alongside cashew and coconut trees. This multi-cultural approach suits Vietnamese farmers who don’t want to be overly reliant on one crop. Still, there is always a fear that plummeting global prices will result in slashed trees. “That’s why we pay above market prices for quality beans,” says Vincent. “When market prices go down, Marou pays up.” Even fair trade is a bespoke affair with Marou.
Part of Marou’s unique selling point comes from its conviction in the mysterious element of terroir. Each bar they produce represents a different province. An early adopter of Marou, the executive chef of Don’s Bistro in Hanoi, Donald Berger, says, “Marou’s subtle flavours and aromas are truly amazing and easily detectable. It is comparable to the tremendous difference of terroir in the best wine regions of, say, Bordeaux and Burgundy.”
It’s not just the land that influences the taste of Marou chocolate. Fermentation, which happens at farm level, is also part of the inimitable process. “Maybe it’s a little bit mysterious,” says Sam. “But our only criteria is making very, very good chocolate.”
Variety – A range of 6 dark chocolate bars between 70% and 80% pure cocoa, as well as the now renowned Vietnam couverture 65% used by chef Michel Roux.
Awards – Awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze at the UK’s Academy of Chocolate Awards in 2013.