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Home / Doug's Chocolate Republic  /   Review: Chocolate Monggo Macadamia

Chocolate Monggo Macadamia 
Posted: 18 March 2012      4.0 
Chocolate Monggo Macadamia I predicted this macadamia bar would be my favorite. I love nuts in my chocolate, and I love dark chocolate.  This isn't one such winning combination, and my prediction turned out to be as accurate as ecologists from the 1970's forecasting we would living on the moon by the turn of the century.
Avg price/gram: USD 0.036   Cocoa %: 58  Size: 80g  Indonesian chocolate 

My wife recently had to spend 5 nights in Bali (Indonesia) on a business trip.   She returned bearing Indonesian sauces, Indonesian spice pastes, Indonesian coffees, and, of course, Indonesian chocolates.       

Indonesia is currently the world's third largest producer of cacao   I just read a 2011 article on the Embassy of Indonesia in Italy's website about how Indonesia is poised to become the world's largest cocoa producer. Like many things said in Indonesia, there are no facts to back up the statement.  "Having the ability to produce cocoa beans in large quantities," the article stated, "Indonesia is ready to set aside Ivory Coast as the world's largest producer and exporter."  As further 'proof,' the West Sulawesi governor remains optimistic Indonesia will become the world's largest cocoa producer and exporter.  These statements, pulled out of individual asses, are sufficient, by Indonesian standards, to state, as the article's title, that Indonesia is to become the world's largest cocoa producer.  Remember Jack Dawson, Leonardo DiCaprio's character in Titanic?  He said he was "King of the World."  His reign lasted only a few days.   Jack wound up on the bottom of the freezing Atlantic Ocean.        

Let's go with real facts.  In 2008-09, Indonesia produced about 14% of world cacao.  Ivory Coast topped the charts with 35% and Ghana scored the second slot with almost 21%.  The Chocolate Republic doesn't much care who's producing the most.  We just care who makes the best.  How good is Indonesian cacao?      

When I tried Willie's Indonesian 69 last week, the answer to that question was 'very good.'  Willie's isn't an Indonesian brand though. The processing of the Indonesian cacao, diligently sourced by Willie, was all done in England using Willie's antique equipment.   Like many of the countries in the cacao producing world, Indonesia lacks the firms turning the raw material into the finished product, true bean-to-bar operations.  There are numerous commercial operations in Indonesia producing low quality dreck.  The Dutch brand Van Houten produces Indonesian sludge in Bandung.  Tango bars are made here, too.  The manufacturers could be using Ecuadorean, Ghanan, or Martian chocolate for all the difference it makes after sugar and additives are mixed in.  As far as I know, there is only one indigenous operation making European quality chocolate in Indonesia with Indonesian cacao, and that's Chocolate Monggo.

I first came across Chocolate Monggo during a trip to Jakarta and Yogyakarta in August 2009. Monggo's headquarters are in Yogyakarta. I tried one or two bars, I don't remember which ones, and wasn't very impressed. I returned to Indonesia in April 2010 for a Balinese vacation, and the food & beverage director at the hotel where we stayed, a former colleague of my then girlfriend (now wife), gifted me two Chocolate Monggo bars, the Dark and the Caramello, two of the first reviews ever made on the Chocolate Republic. I was, again, not terribly impressed. The chocolate was priced at international levels and was about average by international standards.

I decided to re-evaluate Chocolate Monggo's Indonesian creations in light of all the bars I've now reviewed for the Chocolate Republic since. My wife brought back 8 Chocolate Monggo bars, including the two I tried almost two years ago. I re-sampled the Dark and the Caramello and came to about the same conclusions I arrived at the first time.

Chocolate Monggo isn't a difficult operation to get a handle on. They don't manufacture a variety different chocolate blends, say a 33%, then a 45%, then a 69%, then an 85%. Every bar my wife brought back, save for one, used Monggo's 58% dark chocolate as the base.  Monggo has introduced a 41% milk chocolate bar, but none were brought back in my wife's suitcase.

I predicted this macadamia bar would be my favorite.  I love nuts in my chocolate, and I love dark chocolate.  Though Monggo's 58% isn't going to set my world on fire, an average chocolate with the right nut combo can taste inspired.  This isn't one such winning combination, and my prediction turned out to be as accurate as ecologists from the 1970's forecasting we would living on the moon by the turn of the century.  Monggo's average-tasting dark chocolate isn't enhanced by too few macadamia nuts crushed much too small.  In fact dangling the macadamia nuts in front of me, as if they'll provide a flavor boost and the boost never coming, is worse than not including them at all. 

I'm still seeing a therapist over this one.

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  Monggo makes dark chocolate in Indonesia. Do you like an Indonesian bar made in Yogyakarta. This bar has macadamia nuts and the Chocolate Republic isn't impressed, my man.