/ Doug's Chocolate Republic /
Review: Chocolate Monggo Praline
Chocolate Monggo Praline
Posted: 18 March 2012
Chocolate Monggo has its heart in the right place, but, as even my wife was able to point out, it's not a premium product. That said, this praline bar was the first of all the Chocolate Monggo bars I can say I actually enjoyed. No, the 58% chocolate isn't sublime in any sense of the word, but the darkish chocolate, encasing not overly sweet pralines within, worked in tandem for a very tasty snack.
price/gram: USD 0.033
Cocoa %: 58
My wife just returned from
Bali, Indonesia bearing, at my request, a half dozen
Indonesian-made chocolate bars.
Voicing this request, it is
not as if my wife had scores of Indonesian firms she could've purchased
chocolate from. Indonesia produces about 14% of
the world's cacao, but there aren't any companies of note
that are turning this cacao into products that meet the
standards of the Western chocolate palate. This is
where the Yogyakarta based company, Chocolate Monggo, found
Chocolate Monggo is a company
you want to embrace. A Belgian man, Thierry Detournay,
decides to remain in Yogyakarta after backpacking in
Southeast Asia. He comes with no vision. Milking
his Belgian roots to the fullest -- there are still people
on this planet who believe that if you have Belgian
citizenship, then you must know how to make
chocolate -- Thierry sold homemade truffles from atop his
motorbike. These inauspicious roots led to a garden
cafe that soon went defunct. Detournay and his
Indonesian business partner rented a house and brainstormed
a new chocolate operation, what eventually became Chocolate
The company doesn't cheat and
try to pass off "flavouring" and "E535" as quality
ingredients. They use real cocoa butter. The
factory has solar panels and produce is locally sourced.
But just in case you didn't know: all natural
ingredients and low carbon-footprint chocolates don't
necessarily equate to delicious products. Why do you
think other factories are using lower quality inputs?
Yeah, they're cheaper, but maybe because it gives the
manufacturers an opportunity to cut corners. Most
manufacturers add sugar to their tomato sauces because
sourcing quality tomatoes and cooking them slowly to reduce
the tomato's natural sugars is just too time consuming, and
time is money. Chocolate can be 'fixed' the same way.
Detournay and his partners
admit to no prior chocolate-making experience. Depending on
how you look at it, this could or could not be considered a
handicap. Scharffen-Berger, manufacturers of fine
chocolate and, some say, the spark of a new artisan
chocolate renaissance in the U.S., was the brain child of a
physician with no prior chocolate-making experience.
Here's the difference. Scharffen-Berger's Robert Steinberg traveled to
France to intern at a chocolate company and read extensively
about the makings of chocolate. He teamed up with a
partner who had experience in the beverage business.
What's more, their chocolates were sold in an affluent area
where residents are accustomed to good taste and expensive
imports. Indonesia, by
contrast, had no decent indigenous chocolate manufacturers.
The bar wasn't set very high for Chocolate Monggo to beat.
Just the fact a small chocolate operation began in Indonesia
using locally produced cacao is able to create the buzz.
Chocolate Monggo has its heart in the right place, but, as even my wife was able
to point out, it's not a premium product. That said, this praline bar was the first of all the Chocolate Monggo
bars I can say I actually enjoyed. No, the 58% chocolate isn't sublime in any sense of the word, but the darkish chocolate, encasing
not overly sweet pralines within, worked in tandem for a very tasty snack.
If you're looking for nuances in the Indonesian cocoa or tasters' notes telling you to note
the aroma of raspberries and flea urine, try a different company's product. Chocolate Monggo
so far is doing what it set out to do: offering better
quality Indonesian chocolate in the Indonesian marketplace.
The mission statement doesn't say anything about setting the
world's palates ablaze.