It’s not really necessary to go into great detail about where this bar has it’s origins (The Mekong Delta in Vietnam) but the origins of Vietcacao are worth a paragraph or two.
The company has been active for five years now but was six years in the making before that. André Stengel – the founder – decided to get involved in Vietnamese cacao after a somewhat illustrious career as both head of a high school and VP of the French Confectioners & Chocolatiers Association. France was the first country to colonise Vietnam and the country was producing cacao until the Vietnam War disrupted both cultivation & supply. Vietcacao is also engaged in an ethical and sustainable development programme, with the company investing profits back into the local community. One particularly notable project involves the installation of equipment and provision of training for pupils in a school for handicapped people.
With support coming from (mainly French) companies and chocolatiers, Vietcacao continues to build on early success. In the UK Marc Demarquette is both a supporter and importer of their products and it was he who supplied this bar for review.
The chocolate itself is a deep reddish brown in colour with a light, vibrant scent suggesting fruity/floral notes which is borne out in the tasting. Good acidity and lots of bright, fruity cacao notes precede the deeper red fruits and woodier low notes. It has a long, clean finish and an excellent soft mouthfeel. At seventy percent cacao this bar doesn’t overwhelm in any way – it’s a light, bright tangy chocolate with a great range of flavours. I suppose one way to describe this bar would be ‘unsurprising’, which is in no way an insult. It has all the right qualities for a good chocolate but doesn’t surprise in anyway. You get bright, lively acidity sitting over moderate dark notes, a hint of bitterness and a long, clean finish and that’s all good.
It’s good to see someone taking the time and trouble to resurrect the cacao growing industry in Vietnam – as is happening all over the world – and the ethical credentials of this chocolate (plus the taste) make it very desirable. A great ‘everyday’ chocolate for those who like something that isn’t too aggressive or ‘wacky’.