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Marou Chocolatiers Get a New York Times Shout-Out

If you've ever splurged on a good bar of chocolate in this city, chances are you've heard of Marou. The independent Saigon-based chocolatier is responsible for a series of hand-picked, single-origin artisanal chocolate bars from various provinces in southern Vietnam.

Well, the word is now apparently out to the rest of the world, thanks to a recent write-up in the New York Times. The American news giant profiled Marou founders Samuel Maruta and Vincent Mouru, both of whom have French heritage. Prior to opening the company in 2011, neither founder had any experience in the chocolate business, however the pair managed to create a product that blends Vietnamese ingredients with French technique and is now being sold not only in the country but around the world.

‘‘We make a very French chocolate as far as technique goes,’’ Maruta told the Times. ‘‘Most Vietnamese like much sweeter, blander chocolate. But as far as the raw material goes, it’s also distinctly Vietnamese.’’

For Marou, the secret lies in its founders' ability to control every aspect of the chocolate-making process, from farm to shop. The beans for their Tan Phu Dong chocolate, for instance, is grown on the Mekong Delta island of the same name.

Once ripe, the cacao seeds are fermented in wooden crates for six days, sun-dried on bamboo mats and hand-picked for each chocolate bar. Back at the company's factory on the outskirts of Saigon, cacao beans are then roasted, shucked, ground into a paste and heated to create the final product.

Vietnam grows primarily trinitario and criollo beans, both considered high-brow varietals in the world of cacao, and thanks to Marou's meticulous selection process and single-origin bars, the resulting chocolate boasts an array of flavors, from licorice and tobacco to a hint of spice.

[Photo and video via Marou]

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