Raising the bar: Vietnam's luxury chocolate pioneers | Mrs. Watson's Class | Scoop.it
Deep in the Mekong Delta, two Frenchmen have their heads buried in a sack of cacao beans. The pair -- co-founders of Vietnam's first artisan chocolate maker -- resurface, murmuring appreciatively. The sweet-toothed entrepreneurs -- who quit their day jobs to set up award-winning chocolate company Marou -- buy three out of four of 64-year-old farmer Vo Thanh Phuoc's sacks of dried, fermented cacao, paying a premium on the market price for the better-than-average beans. Cacao was likely first introduced in Vietnam by French colonialists in the late 19th century, but never took off as a cash crop.