Tasting chocolate can be as easy or as complicated as you wish it to be. We all have images in our minds about the wine connoisseur sniffing, sipping, swishing and spitting their wine and then talking about the “notes” and “qualities” of the wine they just tasted. It may seem silly to some, however every branch of food and beverage connoisseurship has its own tasting methods.
For chocolate connoisseurs the tasting method is:
chew a couple of seconds
and let it slowly coat your throat as you breath in through your nose.
In chocolate tasting first we look at the chocolate. Is it dull or shinny? Is it chocolate colored or does the chocolate have a greyish film? Any change in the color or shine of chocolate indicates that the chocolate may have been exposed to other than optimal temperatures (between 60-70 degrees fahrenheit). This doesn't mean the chocolate isn't any good, it just means the chocolate may have changed from the chocolatiers original flavor and that it will take a bit longer on the tongue for the chocolate and the chocolate fat to blend. The texture will also be softer, no snap. Again, this doesn't mean the chocolate isn't any good, it is just past its prime.
Take a bite. Chew three or four times and place the chocolate in the center of your tongue. Let the chocolate slowly melt. This is where the fun really begins. Chocolate has very clear beginning, middle and end flavors. Everyone will have a somewhat different experience. Some the words used to describe chocolate are: fruit, citrus, coffee, smoke, cream, wood, and even leather. This is not an experience to be rushed. Close you eyes and relax. Some people like to keep a chocolate journal and write down their impressions. Some people use the tasting and as a living in the moment experience. Some people want to be alone and some find it interesting to share their impressions with fellow connoisseurs. (Ideas on hosting a tasting party will follow in another post.) Enjoy!!!