How to Taste Chocolate
How to Taste Chocolate
Mmmm, chocolate. It’s so delicious, we all want to get the ultimate taste experience when we eat it. Whether you are hosting a chocolate tasting party or just want to get the very most out of your personal chocolate tasting, you always want to savor this delectable treat.
Believe it or not, there are guidelines on how to taste chocolate. This article will outline the best ways to taste chocolate so you can get a rich and creamy, flavorful experience every time.
Read the Wrapper
Reading the chocolate bar wrapper will provide information on what to expect when you taste chocolate. Most craft chocolate bar wrappers will have tasting notes that will let you know exactly what you’re looking for as the chocolate melts on your tongue.
Reading the chocolate bar wrapper before buying the chocolate is also advisable. You can read the ingredients to make sure what you are purchasing is high quality and reasonably healthy.
Ideally the fewer ingredients, the better. Cacao bean and sugar is all you need to make great tasting chocolate. You don’t want much more added than these two essentials.
Taste a Few Bars at Time
Tasting different chocolates will allow you to compare the nuances of each. It’s best to try four to six at a time but even tasting two side by side will give you a good frame of reference.
Taste chocolate bars with the highest cocoa content first. Lower cocoa content chocolate bars have higher sugar content which will coat your tongue and prevent you from tasting other flavors from the cacao bean.
Keep it Cool
Chocolate should never be stored in a refrigerator or in an excessively hot area. Rather, store it in a cool dry place, between 63 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
Moisture and humidity will ruin the chocolate bar over time. It’s best to keep it in an airtight container. Let it get to 72 degrees F before tasting it for the best experience possible. Chocolate will melt at body temperature.
Look at the Chocolate
Look at the chocolate before eating it. The best chocolate will have a smooth and shiny surface. This means that the chocolate bars have been well tempered. (Stay tuned for another article on tempering.)
If the chocolate has been kept for a while, it may have white patches or a dusty look on the surface. This is called chocolate bloom. This means that the fat and sugars have risen to the top of the bar. It causes effects known as fat bloom and sugar bloom.
Fat bloom occurs when chocolate is exposed to temperatures over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The warmer temperature causes alterations in its fat crystals. The cocoa butter softens as a result, giving the entire bar a softer, mushier texture.
Sugar bloom happens when the chocolate comes into contact with moisture. The condensation that occurs causes crystals to form that result in the white patchy, dusty appearance.
A chocolate bar with fat and sugar bloom will still be safe to eat, but it might be gritty.
Smell the Chocolate
It’s a good idea to smell the chocolate bar before eating it. The aromas will indicate the taste you can expect. It will smell strongest at the edge where it has been broken/cut. For best results, rub the chocolate before smelling it.
Listen By Breaking a Square of Chocolate
The best chocolate will give off a loud snap sound when broken. This will indicate that it is a well made chocolate bar that has gone through the tempering process successfully.
Touch the Chocolate
When touching the chocolate, you will want to feel whether it is soft or hard. This will determine how quickly it will melt in your hand…or your mouth.
For an insightful touching experience, close your eyes and rub the chocolate between your fingers. Press it and bend it lightly to get an idea of the melting rate and resistance.
Taste the Chocolate
Now you are ready to taste the chocolate. Put the chocolate in your mouth. Close your eyes as the sweet melts and inhale through your nose before you swallow. This type of breathing will send the aroma through the nasal passages twice enhancing the flavor.
During the chocolate tasting experience, you will truly be able to enjoy the texture of the bar. While creaminess is terrific, a gritty bar can also have a complex, intense flavor.
The texture will indicate whether the chocolate bar has additional cocoa butter added to the recipe. You will also be able to tell how long the chocolate liquor (liquid chocolate that has been grounded up for hours and hours) has been conched for and at what rate.
The flavor of chocolate comes in waves. After 2 seconds, you will taste its sweetness. After five seconds, a bitterness will occur. After 3-9 seconds you may begin to detect salty and sour notes. Those who are not used to chocolate bars with a high cocoa content , will taste bitterness first. Take a second bite and the bitterness will slowly dissipate.
Not all chocolates are created equal so what you taste will differ from one chocolate bar to another. The taste varies according to the harvest year, because of its terroir.
This chocolate tasting guide serves as an excellent way for you and your family to make the most of this rich, luxurious treat. But to truly enjoy your chocolate, it's important to start with a great product with high quality ingredients.
At Cococlectic, we feature a different American small-batch bean-to-bar chocolate maker each month. These chocolate makers passionately make chocolate bars from scratch using only 3 main ingredients; cacao beans, sugar and cocoa butter. The chocolates we feature are vegan, non-GMO, fair-trade and ethically sourced. They do not contain any soy, gluten, dairy or nut, but they may be produced in a facility that handles these ingredients.
So what are you waiting for? Sign up for a chocolate-of-the-month subscription club and join us for a free virtual chocolate tasting with our featured chocolate maker of the month.
Learn more about our corporate virtual chocolate tastings. They are fun, interactive, delicious and hosted by a culinary professional.
Break off a piece of our Cococlectic bars and look forward to enjoying the ultimate chocolate tasting pleasure.