Chocolate tasting is not unlike wine tasting
Here are the steps to savouring your fine chocolate
- Turn off your TV, avoid distractions, because you’re about to taste chocolate and nothing else matters!
- Your palate should be clean. You do not want to taste your last lasagna dinner in your chocolate! If necessary, eat a wedge of apple, a piece of bread - sparkling water also works as a palate cleanser.
- Chocolate should be served at room temperature. Cold chocolate really affects the evolution of the flavour profile, so if it’s cold, leave it at room temperature for a while.
- Look at the chocolate. The surface should be shiny with no whitish swirls (called bloom). Bloom doesn’t affect the taste or quality of chocolate, it’s a sign that the cacao butter has separated slightly during tempering. Next, note the colour, chocolate comes in a wide range of browns. As some cacao beans are creamy white in colour, having a lighter chocolate colour doesn’t mean it’s not dark chocolate.
- Break off a good size piece (about 10 grams). It should resonate with a resounding “SNAP!” and exhibit a fine gradient along the broken edge.
- Smell the chocolate. The aroma is an important component of flavour. Some suggest rubbing the piece of chocolate with your thumb to release the aroma. Inhaling the fragrance and noting its profile will prime the tongue for the incoming chocolate.
- Place the chocolate on the tongue and allow it to arrive at body temperature. Let it melt slowly. Be patient! This step is crucial, for it allows the cocoa butter to distribute evenly in the mouth, thereby muting any astringencies or bitterness of the chocolate. Chewing immediately will release these properties and might offend the palate. Breath through your mouth as oxygen will further release flavours.
- Study the taste and texture. As the chocolate melts, concentrate on the flavours that unfold on the tongue. It is important to notice how the flavour evolves from beginning, middle, to the finish.
- Chewing is optional, but do not chew more than three times. Since the cocoa butter has had time to coat the mouth, chewing just may release even more flavor components. Remember, we’re tasting and not eating.
- Now the chocolate is nearing its finish. How has the flavour evolved? Is the chocolate bitter? Heavy? Light? Was the texture smooth, creamy, dry, or grainy? Take note of how the chocolate leaves the palate and slips into its finish. Does a strong reminder lingering in your mouth, or does it quickly vanish?
- Remember to clean your palate again before trying a differen t chocolate origin.