Vietnam might not be the first place that comes to mind when one thinks of chocolate.
But French expats Samuel Maruta and Vincent Mourou-Rochebois, who live in Ho Chi Minh City, have proven that the two are synonymous.
Their company, Marou, just launched Stateside, and currently offers five different chocolate bars ($9 each), each made with cacao from a different region of Vietnam. The cacao is mixed only with cane sugar, an austerity that plays like a prism, reflecting the full contours and flavor distinctions between the different regions’ beans.
The red label, Marou Ba Ria, is undeniably spicy, with a berry-ish heat like that of Sichuan pepper. The green label, Ben Tre, originates from the Mekong Delta and is a softer, more tropical option. To sample them together is the clearest example of terroir we’ve seen outside of a wineglass.
The gorgeous matte-paper wrapping, designed by Vietnamese agency Rice Creative, is hand-printed in Vietnam. We’re calling it a “preemptive souvenir”--a taste of the place we look forward to visiting in person.