Calamondin kumquats are small fruits with a bright burst of citrus flavor. They grow in lush orchards in the Mekong Delta provinces of Vietnam. In this Marou Mekong Kumquat 68% Tien Giang Single Origin Dark Chocolate Mini Bar, the makers strike a synergistic balance between the tartness of the kumquat and the exotic trinitario cacao that hails from the same origin. The bar is marvelously complex and sparkles on the palate. It’s truly a favorite bar of mine, and I’m not typically a fan of chocolate with citrus.
All of the ingredients that comprise this bar are 100% Vietnamese. You can count on this bar to deliver exciting, sophisticated and deeply satisfying flavors that will enliven your taste buds, give you something to think about, and keep you coming back for more!
Sommelier’s Tip: If you want to create your own exquisite chocolate flight, I suggest savoring this Mekong Kumquat Dark Chocolate Mini Bar as your second chocolate “course”, with the Qantu Gran Blanco 70% as your first course and the Fossa Honey Orchid Dancong Hongcha Dark Milk as your third course.
When Marou founders Vincent and Sam met on a jungle weekend where they had to scavenge and fish for their own food in Lam Dong, Vietnam, they became fast friends and quickly realized that they were both passionate about chocolate. They knew they could make great chocolate from the bean together, but they also knew that the task would be a lifelong endeavor. Turns out, it was just the endeavor these two needed as they had grown weary of their successful careers in advertising and banking.
Both being of French descent, they had memories of their grandmothers in France showing their love to them through the same, delicious chocolate treats. Vincent recalls this fond memory: "My dad's mother would make us afternoon snacks of bread and butter and pieces of milk chocolate. Then I would go an hour away to see my mother's parents who'd make the same thing with dark chocolate. Basically, I could eat as much chocolate as I wanted." Sam shared his own tale of grandmother's chocolate: "I remember bread, butter and plain dark chocolate. My grandmother sprinkled a whole bar over a buttered baguette with a cheese grater. It was so good!"
After googling "cacao plantation" Sam and Vincent set course for a farm in Ba Ria Province with no address. On the ferry ride back to Saigon, they vowed to start a company called Marou Faiseurs de Chocolat. Armed with nothing but a blender, an oven, and cake tins, they got to work in Sam's kitchen. They've perfected their craft, hired a skilled and dedicated team and make beautiful chocolate bars in Saigon, relying on a tight network of small farmers from whom they buy the best beans in limited quantities for a premium price. They roast this cacao low and slow so that the genetics of the various beans and their terroir shine through.
Marou Faiseurs de Chocolat was among the first "bean to bar" outfits in Asia and one of the few in the world to make chocolate at origin. What began as a dream borne out of a a desire for change and adventure, quickly snowballed into a brand of premium dark chocolate made entirely from the finest Vietnamese Ingredients.
Watch this video for more about Marou Faiseurs de Chocolat.
* Sadly, Sam Maruta passed away in January of 2020. The fine chocolate world has lost a great hero. When chocolate professionals and chocolate lovers all over the world heard about Sam’s death, the outpouring of love and appreciation for his generosity, kindness, enthusiasm to teach other makers, and great skill as a bean-to-bar maker was epic. Rest In Peace, sweet Sam. May your memory be a blessing to the craft chocolate industry and the many people who loved you.
- Ingredients: Cacao nibs, Cane Sugar, Cacao Butter, Dried Kumquat
- Net Weight: 24 g. / .85 oz.
- Country of Origin: Vietnam