Chocolate seems to be an essential companion in the journey of lovers. And Chocolate Marou also have such its own journey.
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Tasting a piece of chocolate makes you feel like you are experiencing all the emotions of love from bitterness to sweetness. This taste is closely associated with people’s lives and their childhood. It is a wonderful sweet taste which makes people happy. It is even more wonderful to know that there are two foreigners involved in the creative process of creating Vietnamese traditional chocolate, made from cocoa beans in the South of Vietnam.
Founded by two newcomers to the chocolate industry, Vincent Mourou and Samuel Maruta, Mourou chocolate is establishing its brand in the world chocolate industry not only because of its natural taste but also because of the handmade production process, from harvesting the cacao beans to making complete bars of chocolate. For those who are chocolate connoisseurs, enjoying a black chocolate brings a pure taste of cocoa. It is the bitterness of cocoa that makes up the attractive quintessence of chocolate that one may alternatively find in a cup of strong coffee or tea.
After 3 hours navigating a network of roads, we finally reach Marou chocolate factory, which is located by the red roads of Thu Duc. Contrary to what people may imagine about a chocolate factory, Marou is not filled with liquid chocolate, nor is it as colorful as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. The factory is simple with a blue gate; and in the front yard there are dozens of dry cocoa bags whose smell is still retained.
Next to the yard is a series of baking cocoa plants. The cocoa beans are now crunchy and easily crushed. Good quality cocoa beans have a bitter taste. When serving chocolate made from this cocoa, the longer you keep it in your mouth, the more you feel its cocoa taste. After the beans are collected, the process continues with extracting cocoa butter and mixing it with sugar to make chocolate. The hot liquid mixture is poured into moulds for shaping before it goes through a cooling stage and finally a packaging one.
Marou Tien Giang, 80% made from cocoa, is the first thing that we tried. This chocolate has a the flavor of a rich land full of fruit and honey on the banks of Tien river. This kind of chocolate is also the most impressive to me with its strong bitterness. Just putting it in your mouth, you can feel the flavor melting out. In contrast, Marou Ba Ria is made from 76% of cocoa harvested from the crops on Ba Ria farm. This range of chocolate brings us an experience of sweet tastes. This perhaps is the most special chocolate of Marou. In addition to these choices, there are Dong Nai chocolate 72%, Lam Dong 74%, Ben Tre 87% and some other limited ranges which are reserved for famous chefs.
I am impressed by my conversation with Vincent – the co-founder of Marou- when he talks about the company’s products and production process. “We have no secret in the process of making chocolate!”.There is nothing “esoteric” to keep secret. He shares his stories and passion for Vietnamese cocoa. He also lets us know the process he and his co-founder use to search for the recipe for making chocolate on the Internet and their journey to build up the brand of Marou Chocolate. Mr. Vincents concludes that the: 3 factors which have created success for Marou Chocolate are: good quality, a good story and good packaging.
We cannot deny the power of Marou packaging with the beautiful and impressive designs which are seen as works of art. It took them 8 months to create the patterns inspired by Vietnamese culture. Those patterns are meticulously printed by hand on the packages. These designs paid dividends with the awards they received and with an increasing number of customers coming to buy Marou chocolate products.
The cocoa beans from the South seem to have been forgotten. But gradually, they are creating amazement in the international industry of chocolate where people recognize their value. This makes me suddenly think, in the journey of couples, could it be that because we are so familiar, we neglect to take care of those we love? Why not buy these bars of gourmet Vietnamese chocolate to give our beloved ones as gifts?.
Honeymoon and wedding season are the time when couples should try new flavors. Marou chocolate products can be found at website: www.marouchocolate.com
Where to buy Marou Chocolate?
You can buy Marou Chocolate in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, following addresses:
Marou Chocolate Hanoi
Hanoi Gourmet 6T Ham Long Street, Hoan Kiem
Don’s Bistro 16 Lane 27 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho
Veggies’ Hanoi 99 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho
L’épicerie at Hotel Métropole Le Phung Hieu Street, Hoan Kiem, tucked inside Hanoi’s most fabled hotel
Hanoi Social Club 6 Ngo Hoi Vu, Hoan Kiem District
Naturally Vietnam No. 4, 67/12 To Ngoc Van Street, Tay Ho
Marou Chocolate Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Une Journee A Paris: 234 Le Thanh Ton street, near Ben Thanh Market
Au Parc: 23 Han Thuyen, between the Cathedral and Reunification Palace
FANNY’s: 29-31 Ton That Thiep
Veggies’: 29A Le Thanh Ton (corner of Thi Sach)
Red Apron Wines: 22 Chu Manh Trinh
L’USINE: 151 Dong Khoi or 70B Le Loi, exclusive retailers for the Marou Wallpaper Handmade bars in Vietnam*
Annam Gourmet: 16-18 Hai Ba Trung Street or Takashimaya Food Centre 65 Le Loi Street (B2)
GINKGO CONCEPT STORE: 92-96 Le Loi Street
District 2 (Thao Dien):
Annam Gourmet An Phu: 41A Thao Dien
Mekong Merchant: 23 Thao Dien (in the air-conditioned brasserie section)
District 7 (Phu My Hung):
Annam Gourmet Phu My Hung: SB2-1 My Khanh 4, Ng Đuc Canh, Tan Phong Ward, Dist. 7, HCMC
IF YOU LIVE IN HO CHI MINH CITY AND WANT TO ORDER DIRECTLY: Please drop a line to [email protected], we’ll be in touch very shortly!
IF YOU LIVE OUTSIDE HO CHI MINH CITY: (anywhere from Mui Ne to Timbuktu) there is only one answer: it depends on how much chocolate you want to order and on our capacity to handle freight issues for your specific destination; again if you are interested do send a line to [email protected]