SAMUEL MARUTA AND VINCENT MOUROU
Country / City: Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Online presence (Facebook, Instagram, Weibo, etc.):
Profession / Occupation: Chocolate maker
Marou Faiseurs de Chocolat was borm from a dream Samuel Maruta, 41 years old, and Vincent Mourou, 43 years old, had. As cosmopolitan Frenchmen living in Vietnam, they wanted to break away from the well-established careers they left behind – in banking and advertising, respectively – to craft a very pure dark chocolate in Saigon, using 100% local ingredients, by drawing on the land and produce of South Vietnam and the know-how of French chocolate makers.
Why did you decide to live in this country? What aspect of your two cultures do you find most enriching?
We enjoy extraordinary freedom by living in Vietnam; it’s a country where we’ve had the time to create our own business and to re-invent ourselves at the same time. It’s a country with history but one which is firmly focused on the future. It is very young and full of dynamism.
What French touch do you pass on there? What French Art de Vivre are you sharing with others in the country?
Dark chocolate. You don’t necessarily realise it when you’re living in France, but we have a special relationship with dark chocolate; the Americans call this “French taste”. It’s a language our taste buds speak fluently, which can’t necessarily be said of our British friends raised on Cadbury’s Dairy Milk or fans of a certain lilac-coloured Swiss cows. We took the gamble of only selling the chocolate that we like which resulted in a range which goes from dark (65%) to very dark (85%); somewhat like a Soulages painting.
Which experience epitomising French Art de Vivre in your country and/or city would you recommend?
Strolling in the old streets that still have the smell of the Saigon of Marguerite Duras, to be transported by the aromas of coffee and exotic fruit and fresh “banh mi” bread, driving around in our Citroen Mehari which survived the Vietnam War and stopping by at one of the many restaurants owned by our compatriots to share an aniseed pre-dinner drink among friends.