Going home in August, I was excited, knowing that my sister had brought me some chocolate in April. I opened the box that my mom had carefully put away, and it was a big-name brand (which equals barely average quality). Sis said she was in a rush and had to pick some up at the airport. No wonder! I could only digest a couple of pieces. That’s the thing about chocolate for me. I’m addicted, but to quality, not to quantity. I’d rather not eat any for years than eat something less than gourmet (so spoiled i know).

As soon as i knew my sis was going home again in December, i asked her to buy some decent treats, not the airport kind. And yet I was again sorely disappointed. But i couldn’t fault her. She moved to Zurich just a few days before flying out so she didn’t know many places (plus, it’s Zurich, not a French city). And then she spent a week in Bali, so the chocolate wasn’t in, uhm, the best storage condition. Knowing that in no ways alleviated my sense of deprivation though. The last time I had some good one was all the way back in June when Col picked up some for me from Alegio’s in Berkeley. It wasn’t the best in the world (as advertised to him) but was up there.

I tried to suppress all thoughts about chocolate, but the wound was ripped open again when my friend Ysa posted on fb photos of the chocolate that she received (and got to eat). They looked divine, rubbing salt on my open sore. And I’m back on the crave. But this is Vietnam, it’s like the antonym of good chocolate. In an act of desperation, I googled “best chocolate in Vietnam” and surprisingly came across a couple of interesting leads.

First is the Chocolate Buffet at the Hanoi’s Metropole. Metropole is one of the top fine dining establishments in Hanoi. (I got to eat there once at a reception and every single thing was so damn delicious). All the reviews say the buffet is top-notch, mouth-watering, spectacular, sumptuous and scrumptious, blah blah blah. They even have chocolate spring rolls! What kind of sorcery is that! Not surprisingly it comes with a hefty price tag: $25. Sounds reasonable in dollars, but too sinful in Vietnam dong. But then, maybe i can eat myself out of ever wanting good chocolate again. Please let me indulge in some wishful thinking.

The other promising option is a chocolatier called Marou. They source cocoa beans in small farms in central and south Vietnam, and make the chocolate in Saigon. It’s all local and small business. Sounds my type. And to top that off, behind it stand 2 French guys. French. Certainly helps, in my opinion. I’ll be in Saigon in a couple of days and can’t wait to taste their dark chocolate bar.

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