Info Details
Country Vietnam   
Type Dark   (76%; Batch #0000128)
Strain Hybrid   (T Clonal Series)
Source Vietnam   (Vũng Tàu Province)
Flavor Crossover   (Spices/Herbs x Earthen x Twang)
Style New School      
Bà Rịa ain't no bah humbug. Its coastal beaches make it Vietnam's Riviera. The sort of place tourists flock to, including those looking for a port to transship exotic wildlife to take back home as pets.

Most however can ill-afford the price of, say, a yellow Burmese python let alone the groceries to feed the massive snake its daily diet of prey -- ya know, mammals like cute little house kittens.

Maybe this bar will suffice as a substitute souvenir for them.

Marou certainly tames its ferocity with enough cocoa butter to recall author Robertson Davies' quip that God made cats so people can have the pleasure of fondling the tiger.
Appearance   4.8 / 5
Color: polychromatic... hues of magenta & crimson crushed in brown
Surface: brush strokes over bubbles
Temper: good wattage
Snap: a bit shy for such a percentage & thick pour
Aroma   7.1 / 10
BIG earth... alluvial floodplain -- silt, sediment & slurry -- just deluges the nasals with a sweet durian top note -> spice (valerian) -> settles into a rubber-butter wax repose
Mouthfeel   11.6 / 15
Texture: Aromatics foretell of some gum in the works
Melt: pretty evenly paced
Flavor   42.4 / 50
fast-acting chocolate with Indochine spice attack (sandalwood / myrrh / oud + a flint of the livelier Vietnamese cinnamon) grounded in substantial Earthen elements carried over from the Aroma that cause an upheaval bellowing forth fruit of some classically mounting acidity (starting with, appropriately enough given the texture -- Wax Jambu – a waxy, Asian apple taste) bestride a vegetative aspect (lemongrass as well as a somewhat tannic tea) -> deep candy (fennel / toffee / black mulberry / bamboo ash) sweetened with luo han guo (monk fruit) extract -> melts thru to juicy akebia (the pulp only for a melon 'n guava-flavored tapioca) -> comes out a baked fudge-brownie from a wood-burning oven
Quality   15.1 / 20
Ba Ria cacáo, though noticeably less harmonized than its regional counterparts, still conveys yet once more how Vietnam astounds with an identifiably strong cacáo character.

Unmistakable terra: the heady hypnotic spices & narcotic scents that define Vietnamese chocolate.

Reportedly fruitier (re: more acidic) than Ben Tre province cacáo, Marou elects a compromise in constructing this large framework of a 76% bar. In so limiting the sugar content to 24%, it compensates with a fairly copious added butter pad & thereby psychologically sweetens the formulation. The net results in some occluded flavor, however, giving the bar an overall opaque quality. In effect it domesticates this Asian tiger into a bit of a fat pussy cat.

But only up to a point.... for Bà Rịa 76% projects a simultaneity of whatever flavors within, & stacks them vertically, ineluctably, regardless of whether one chomps on the bar or lets it melt on its own accord.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter CBS (Cocoa mass / Butter / Sugar ratio): ~1/1.4/ 1

Reviewed 12, 2012


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