If you google “How to taste chocolate” you will find out that there are several ways and techniques that experts use to taste chocolate. In the last two years, when I decided to make time for chocolate in my already busy day, I went through a total of probably 30 different websites where they explained the best ways to taste chocolate. Honestly, I found them very useful and reliable, and the path to follow is always clear and pretty much the same.
Therefore, I will restrain myself from writing a 1000 words blog-post to collect all the details I have learned in this long journey. Actually, let me suggest for you a complete guide I found on CocoaRunners.com about the topic. You will find everything you need to taste chocolate like a pro!
HERE instead I want to tell you what I secretly do different from others, what is my particular idea of tasting chocolate and give you my personal suggestions.
So, these are my secrets unveiled for you:
1- Get together with somebody
I never EVER taste chocolate alone. Why giving up the opportunity to combine together your favorite thing and your favorite people? It creates a type of environment where eating chocolate is even more enjoyable than usual. I call on friends, roommates, neighbors, who is passing by! At least once a week there is a chocolate tasting in the apartment, and everybody has tons of fun. It is just great to exchange opinions and points of view. My tasting companions always surprise me with useful insights and it’s great to hear what their impressions are while I guide them through the sweet journey. So, why doing it alone? Share the fun!
2- Do not unwrap the chocolate bars before the tasting time
I have to admit it: unwrapping chocolate is an obsession for me. I take it as seriously as a religious ritual. I do it slowly, like you would undress a lover during the first moment of intimacy. I can’t wait to touch the surface, to look for details, to get lost in the smell, to taste it with the eyes. This is why I don’t present my guests a plate with pieces of chocolate already there. I want them to enjoy with me that special moment of anticipation! Moreover, from the moment you have unwrapped a chocolate bar, sadly the flavor starts to fade away and the texture is even more exposed to temperature changes. You want to taste your beloved chocolate at its freshest, so no early unwrapping.
3- Don’t describe the chocolate. Feel it!
Honestly, I find it freaking boring to write down on a piece of paper if the consistency of a chocolate bar was gritty or smooth, if the flavor was roasted or fruity, if this is like this or this is like that, how was the after taste and so on. My guests would probably freak out if I presented them one of those boring sensorial sheets to fill out. Instead, I find it more intriguing to meditate on the feelings that that particular piece of chocolate stimulated. Memories associated with that specific flavor, sensations evoked by the consistency, associations between the smell and places you have been, visualizations. It is a different approach to the analysis of chocolate, and at least you are left with a hearty experience with a personal touch, rather than a cold autopsy of the chocolate full of sophisticated words that mean nothing to you.
4- Remember to read the ingredients list
I will never get tired of repeating it: the only way to cast any doubt on the true content of a chocolate is to properly read the ingredients list. After a tasting, I always check if what was written on the packaging corresponded to what was offered. My usual thoughts are something like :”Could I recognize that particular flavor, or was it lost in the density of the chocolate? Why? Maybe they didn’t use fresh products? Let me check the ingredients list to see if they put that specific food in a powder consistency, or fresh, or dried….Oh, that is why I couldn’t taste it! It’ powder, and it is the last ingredient”. Therefore, do not forget to compare what you have been promised to what you have actually tasted. If you need any help, here is my guide on How to properly read a chocolate ingredients list.
How do YOU taste chocolate? What are your personal suggestions? Speak out!
I did NOT get paid and did NOT receive any kind of favor for writing this article. These are my honest opinions at your service.