Bà Ria, Vietnam, 76%
I used to turn my nose up at fruity tasting bars because they didn’t meet my narrow definition of “chocolate flavour”. I’m loosening up a little bit and learning to love bars on the “bright” side of the spectrum. I’m not a total convert but I have room in my heart for this Marou Ba Ria 76% bar. As with all Marou bars, the packaging and mold are gorgeous. It has a satisfying, woody snap and an even, velvet texture. It has an slow melt with a very fine texture, not buttery smooth but very lush. On the nose it is sour fruit and tea.
The sour fruit and tea carries over to the taste. This bar is tangy (sour cherries, tamarind) and tannic like a strong green. The aftertaste is black coffee sans sugar. I also found some grassy/earthy notes wrapped up in there. This earthiness seems to be a defining characteristic of Marou bars. These types of bars are well suited to people who like Fernet-Branca and peaty Scotch. If you are transitioning from the world of mass market chocolate, you may find a bar like this challenging. Those drugstore bars have all the subtleties processed out of them. Smaller makers like Marou work to produce nuanced bars in which the bean is the star, not the sugar and fat. Try one if you are a curious or adventurous eater.
Jasmine co-founded Chocolate Codex as a way to share her enthusiasm for chocolate. She has a certificate in Chocolate making from Ecole Chocolat and she runs a foodblog called The Blenderist.