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Home / Doug's Chocolate Republic  /   Review: Marabou Polka

Marabou Polka 
Posted: 3 February 2011    4.0 
Marabou Polka I was not too crazy about having candy cane bits in my chocolate. In the end, Marabou is like the currencies of Kenya and Malaysia. It has value only within its homeland. Few are looking to get their hands on it outside.    
Avg price/gram: USD 0.027   Cocoa %: 30  Size: 100g  Swedish chocolate 

Any stroller in an IKEA shop in selected countries is no stranger to the Marabou brand.  Swedish-born IKEA is proud to sell its nation's chocolates in its aisles.  Even so, I doubt any IKEA devotee remembers the Marabou bars on the shelves.  Sweden's world claim to fame comes more from IKEA, Ericsson, and Abba.      

So here's the question:  does Marabou deserve to be remembered?  I lived in Sweden from June 1991 to January 1993.  Back then, I remember the Marabous came in a rather bland gold wrapper.  I purchased a few.  After leaving Sweden and never returning since, I completely forgot about the brand until my girlfriend's former general manager, a Swede, was touting Marabou as the best chocolate brand the world had ever witnessed.  This seemed difficult to believe.  Had Marabou sent my taste buds into new dimensions, I think I would've remembered that, even if, years later, I couldn't recall exactly how Marabou tasted.  Since I didn't remember Marabou tasting especially bad or good, I had to assume it must've been so average and indistinguishable, I hadn't bothered to file any special tags with it my memory banks. 

I can now put a final answer to Marabou's quality in a Doug's Republican sense of the word.  Swedish kiteboarding ace, Moa S, recently returned from Sweden and succumbed to my begging.  She brought three bars with her, all still quite frozen after arrival in Thailand from the subzero temperatures she and her boyfriend, kiteboarding premier Suchat Samms, endured in Sweden.

Marabou's newly introduced Polka bar is both a chocolate reviewer's dream and a curse.  Polkagris is a Swedish peppermint candy cane stick that's been around for 150 years.  The Swedes adore it.  They'll eat polkagris sandwiches, dip their tortilla chips in polkagris salsas, drink polkagris-based juices.  There's a cocktail called the polkagris, made from vodka, creme de menthe, grenadine, and 7 Up.  Biting into a polkagris bar is like taking a bite out of Swedish culture.  That's the blessing.

But peppermint chunks have such a strong taste that it makes it more difficult to gauge the taste and quality of the milk chocolate in which those chunks have been placed.  That's the curse.  Let me praise my own virtues here and say that, with enough bites, I can discern the quality of the chocolate, and it's not great.  With 30% cocoa solids, Marabou is using a decent amount for a milk blend, but it doesn't come through in the taste. I was also not too crazy about having candy cane bits in my chocolate.  That, however, is a cultural thing, and I can't dock too my points just because I'd prefer a different filling.    A better re-acquaintanceship with Marabou would have been to try a pure milk chocolate bar.  It's easier to hide a chocolate's shortcomings with the addition of nuts, fruit, or flavorings.

I can swear to you on a stack of Bibles though that Marabou isn't one of the world's best chocolates -- or even one of the world's one thousand best.  Nobel laureates, when collecting their prizes in Stockholm, munch on a Marabou bar in front of the cameras as if to say, "Thanks for the prize, Sweden."  In the end, Marabou is like the currencies of Kenya and Malaysia.   It has value only within its homeland.  Few are looking to get their hands on it outside.   

If you liked reading this, consider savoring these reviews:
 Theo Coconut Curry from USA -- 45% cocoa solids
 Guylian White & Hazelnuts from Belgium -- 28% cocoa solids
 The Complete Chocolate Republic Index

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Voltaire Brown's Don't Travel Europe

  Marabou makes milk chocolate like a Polka that has peppermint candy cane or polkagris bits within it. It's from Sweden. This is Swedish chocolate and we go into it all at the chocolate republic with Doug of Doug's Republic