Marou makes its chocolate just outside Saigon. Founded by two French chocolate makers, Samuel Maruta and Vincent Mourou, with a small and dedicated local team whose bars have garnered praise and awards a plenty in competitions around the world. As well as a factory, Marou has cafes and workshops in Saigon and Hanoi.
A visit to a Marou cafe is a must for chocolate fans visiting Vietnam. You can see chocolate being made, and taste the bon bons and pastries that have been expertly crafted on site by the in house chocolatiers and patissiers. For these chocolates and baked treats, Marou uses their own signature couverture, a 65% dark chocolate which blends the tart citrus edge of cacao grown in Ba Ria with the near-savory nuttiness of beans from Tien Giang.
Marou is known on the global stage for its single origin dark chocolate bars (and more recently its vegan friendly coconut milk). But it’s a poorly kept secret amongst those in the know that they also have a range of slightly more playful bars that are typically only available to buy in their stores in Vietnam. These bars sit under the brand’s signature ‘Maison Marou’ brand, and are the culmination of the brand’s mission to “introduce Vietnam’s finest dark chocolate to a few of our favorite things.”
Each of these bars has a solid foundation – Marou’s house signature couverture, a 65% dark chocolate crafted from a blend of Ba Ria and Tien Giang. The bars are then paired with an intriguing inclusion – a flavour that epitomises either Samuel and Vincent’s French origins, or their adopted home of Vietnam. Some of these inclusions hark back to childhood treats, combining cookie crumbs with the dark chocolate. Others add a spicy kick – such as the chilli and ginger.
We love these bars, but when Sam and Vincent very kindly agreed to let us share one of the bars in our Craft Chocolate Library, there was one bar that we knew we had to choose. When we’ve travelled in Vietnam, we were given the warmest welcome. We were met everywhere we went with a greeting that is heard by travellers across Indochina “Have you had your rice yet?”. In south east Asia, as in so many parts of the world, sharing food is a sign of love. So put simply, this greeting means “Are you being looked after?”
In the words of Maison Marou, with this bar, they caramelised rice and sprinkled it across the chocolate meaning that so long as you have a bar of this chocolate to hand, you can always answer “Yes!”.