Samuel Maruta, a former financier and Vincent Mourou a former advertising executive, both from France, but living in Vietnam, one day discovered a shared interest in chocolate while trekking in the Vietnamese jungle. Looking for new careers, the pair decided to set about creating quality chocolate made from cocoa beans which were grown in Vietnam. After working with farmers there and using French chocolate-making methods, they have created three variants:
- Vietnam Origin contains 65 per cent cocoa and is a blend of cocoa beans from the Tiên Giang and Bà Ria region of Vietnam which has been developed specifically for catering and chefs.
- Tiên Giang contains 70 per cent cocoa and is made exclusively from cocoa beans from the Tiên Giang region which are grown by farmers of the Cho Gao Cooperative in the Mekong Delta.
- Bà Ria contains 76 per cent cocoa and uses Trinitario cocoa beans which are sourced directly from selected farmers within the Bà Ria province.
Vietnam is not a country that you would normally associate with artisan chocolate - until now. Marou claims to be the first artisan chocolate maker using Vietnamese cocoa beans and making and packaging the product in the country. Only sugar is added to the cocoa to help balance the flavour and the chocolate is said to reflect the characteristics of the region in taste.
Marou has been brought to the UK by distributor Jonathan Tailyour of Middletown Hill which is currently exclusive distributor of the product in the UK. Call Tailyour on 01939 260879 or email email@example.com. A website will be accessible from early 2013 www.middletownhill.co.uk.
1kg catering bars are available for £15.
Why you should buy it:
This chocolate comes with an interesting story attached and the attention to quality in production is said to create a cocoa-rich texture which leaves a 'complex and interesting finish in the mouth', perfect 'for an exquisite culinary creation.'
Tailyour adds: "Friends, family and anyone else who tastes it [Marou] want more and chefs have started working with it in their kitchens to create culinary masterpieces. Why I have become involved is because it truly is an artisan product - from the crop to the final packaged product - a real labour of love that we can all enjoy."