Eating chocolate is an amazing experience! Biting into a chocolate bar releases endorphins that make us feel good. What if you could bring your passion for chocolate to another level? What if you became an expert in this field?
This article will teach you how to become a true chocolate connoisseur... One whose taste buds can distinguish between a good chocolate and an exceptional one.
Taste chocolate like a pro
Chocolate tasting takes time and is an experience that shouldn't be rushed. If you do, you might miss out on the delicate nuances in flavor! Chocolate tasting is an enjoyable sensory experience that should be savored and appreciated. Most importantly, you should remember that chocolate tasting involves more than just tasting it.
There are many factors that affect the flavors we taste in chocolate. It's important to pay attention to these factors. This is how you do it:
Use your eyes...
Chocolate comes in many different forms and varieties such as white, milk and dark chocolate.
A good chocolate bar will always convey its value through the packaging to help us make our decision. However, when you take the bar out of the wrapper, that's when the experience begins! You may notice subtle variations in color depending on the cocoa variety that was used.
For dark chocolate, you'll see fairly deep and intense mahogany hues while milk chocolate reveals hints of auburn, dark violets and rustic reds. Finally, white chocolate tends to have yellow, butter and cream colors.
Now... you should check if your bar is shiny or dull. Is it waxy or smooth? A high-quality chocolate bar should be shiny and smooth. Another aspect is probably caused by a small glitch in its production and storage.
Use your hands
Let's move on to the tactile experience. It's time to establish a connection between you and the chocolate. Good chocolate should feel smooth and dry on your fingertips. It shouldn't be sticky, grainy or waxy.
Gently run your finger over the back of the bar and pay attention to the texture. Next, gently rub the corner of your bar. The chocolate should melt a little because of the heat generated by your fingers.
Listen to the sound your chocolate makes when you break it.
You should hear a snap... That sound comes from the cocoa butter crystals that formed during the dipping process. If the chocolate has been properly dipped, the snap should make a clear, sharp sound.
As a general rule, the higher the cocoa content, the louder the snap. Breaking the chocolate will release more aromas, so don't miss out!
Trust your sense of smell...
Let's move on to the smell. This is definitely the key element of this experience. Between 70 and 90% of what we sense can be attributed to aroma. Smell plays an essential role and chocolate's aromas are almost identical to those of wine.
Take your piece of chocolate and rub it between your thumb and forefinger until it melts a little. Place it in your hands (they should form a cup) and breathe in deeply. As you breathe out, you should notice some subtle nuances in the flavor of the chocolate.
You can also melt your chocolate. As it melts, it will begin to release different aromas. Some chocolates only have a few identifiable notes, but a well-made chocolate made with high quality cocoa beans will literally blow you away!
Your chocolate may be fruity, floral, earthy or spicy. The aromas are likely to evolve as the chocolate melts. The more chocolate you taste, the more you will discover distinct flavors such as: cherry, jasmine, green bananas, balsamic vinegar or licorice.
Use your taste buds
We finally reached the culmination of your experience: tasting.
Put a small square in the center of your tongue. Inhale, pinch your nose, and count to 5. Gently move around the chocolate in your mouth and inhale. It will start to release different flavors in the other areas of your tongue... This technique is used in whisky and wine tasting: the aim is to move around the aromas with the air you breathe in and capture them. If you feel an glazed or greasy taste on your tongue, it may be a sign that a lot of cocoa butter was added to the chocolate.
Quality chocolate will also leave a lasting flavor in your mouth after it melts. That's why you only need a small piece of chocolate to get you started with this tasting experience. No matter how you enjoy your chocolate, the important thing is to do it slowly. That way, you will appreciate the chocolate's quality and the talent of the chocolate maker.
It's time for you to get some chocolate bars to try this on your own or with friends! Noble foods like chocolate deserve special attention. These simple techniques will allow you to present the qualities of the chocolates you taste to your friends and family. It's up to you now to become the chocolate expert that lies in you...