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“Every farmer that we started with [in 2011], we are still working with.”
-Vincent Mourou, Marou Chocolate
It is common knowledge that Vincent Mourou was one of the first craft chocolate makers to set up shop in Asia. Marou Chocolate is a value-added chocolate factory that was established in 2011 in the city of Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam. He was one of the co-founders of the company. The company currently collaborates with agriculturalists in six provinces located in the southern region of the country, in addition to a solitary farm in one of those provinces. They have motivated a large number of chocolate makers all over Asia and the rest of the world to launch their own value-added chocolate businesses in the nations in which they are based.
When we were both in Tokyo for the chocolate festival, I took advantage of the opportunity to conduct an interview with Vincent for the episode of my podcast titled “Cacao Brands.” On the other hand, he provided such a good and clear interview that it was an easy decision to publish it in its entirety here on this website. We delve deeper into how he and Sam came up with the idea for Marou, how they started sourcing cacao, and how they have continued to cultivate their relationships with farmers. I really hope that you take as much pleasure in hearing about our conversation as I did in having it.
Please take note that the topic of where cacao comes from features prominently in my questions as a direct result of the podcast episode for which I interviewed Vincent.
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Vincent & one of his employees at the Craft Chocolate Market in Tokyo, Japan, where I conducted this very interview.
Topics We Cover
- How Vincent and his business partner came to the conclusion that they wanted to work with cocoa
- The initial sources that Marou chose to deal with, as well as how they established relationships with neighborhood farmers
- Observations on the terroir of Vietnamese cocoa seen through the prism of French wine
- With the help of a visiting German agronomic, they got an education in cacao cultivation right from the start of their adventure into chocolate manufacture.
- Collaboration with regional farmers, including the building and upkeep of rapport with them over the course of the years
- Branding origins as opposed to just mentioning the site of the origin
- When a significant turning point happened in the artisanal chocolate industry