Tân Phú Đông 85%

by Marou
Info Details
Country Vietnam   
Type Dark   (85%)
Strain Hybrid   (T Clonal Series)
Source Vietnam   (Mekong Delta; Tân Phú Đông)
Flavor Spices & Herbs   
Style Classic      
A bar made for La Grande Épicerie de Paris in lockstep with Viet Cong hero Vo Nguyen Giap who died this year at age 102 -- the last of Vietnam's old-guard revolutionaries whose legacy is second only to that of Ho Chi Minh.

Known as the “red Napoleon”, the brilliant & ruthless self-taught general from “the academy of the bush” drove the French out of Vietnam to free it from colonial rule. Later he forced the Americans to abandon their grueling campaign to save the country from communism… by nearly destroying it.

Giap stood out as the leader of a ragtag guerilla army who wore sandals made of car tires (way ahead of fashionable recycling on that one) & lugged artillery around, piece by piece, over mountains to encircle & crush the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. That unlikely victory, still studied at military schools, eventually led to Vietnam's independence & hastened the collapse of colonialism across Indochina.

His fiery temper & merciless strategies belied his dandy white suits & snappy ties. For instance, he regularly accepted heavy combat losses to achieve his goals.

This chocolate also takes on severe casualties but manages to last thru the battle fatigue for those only-from-Vietnam flavor quotients that still leave it well short however of the better spoils normally associated with victorious Marou, forcing it to fight on another day / in another, more favorable format. The grind continues...
Appearance   4.2 / 5
Color: river brown
Surface: flakes, chips, & scratches; more inlets & estuaries on the backside than the Mekong Delta itself
Temper: high as if buffed with tung-tree oil
Snap: earsplitter
Aroma   8.6 / 10
a lacquered chest teeming with scents, or what the cocoa-doodle-gurus term "spicy" with "earthy notes"
better labeled Marou's own signature fragrance -- poppy, oud, sandalwood, spikenard, coumarin, musk...
generalized as Fougère or the new Eau de Marou
Mouthfeel   13.1 / 15
Texture: luxe
Melt: unrushed
Flavor   32.3 / 50
those aromatic spices overlay a girding cocoa tannin base -> biscuit creates warm gingerbread -> some weirding going on… fringe at first, then comes fore & center, threatening to railroad this into a ditch... wet burlap loaded with duckweed, chicken entrails, & the foul fetid odors of valerian + Rafflesia arnoldii (aka ‘corpse flower’ because it smells of rotting flesh), a real joy-killer in any event -> dry riverbed dust 'n dirt + other sediment -> momentary sweet-spot (longan) provides much relief & a break in the action -> bluestone cement of literal stoneground cocoa
still, just no getting around that earlier stuffed-fabric though
moringa flower (akin to a mushroom, seriously)
Quality   11.7 / 20

Mold & mildew possibly spoiled a portion of this allotment. Their unsavory emergence reinforces that this is an 85% after all. Inexcusable all the same but an indelible-inedible reminder nonetheless.

In Flavor, this bar in character seemingly marries the spice-rack of Tiền Giang to the core cocoa principles found in Dông Nai -- 2 winners in the genetic lottery -- only to spawn a bit of an ugly duckling that may, let's hope, swan out to a lovely maiden with age & more sugaring.

As is, could stand a little pre-K finishing skool.

INGREDIENTS: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter

Reviewed December 17, 2013


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