How to taste chocolate

Find a little peace and quiet. If you have eaten anything, cleanse your taste buds. A piece of apple or bread followed by a sip of water will do the job perfectly.

Chocolate tastes best in room temperature. If you store yours in the cold give it a moment to warm up before you start.

First take a good look at it. Take notice of its colour, the smoothness and sheen of the surface. Grey maps or film may indicate sloppy tempering by the producer, a temperature shock during transport and storage or advanced age. Neither make chocolate inedible but it will not be able to show its full potential.

When you break the bar you should hear a loud snap which proves that the cocoa butter crystals had formed the desired type of bonds. Bring the chocolate to your nose and try to analyse what you smell.

Put a small piece – a square of 2 x 2 cm would be ideal but they don‘t all break that way – and allow it to melt on your tongue. DO NOT CHEW IT! Before the taste comes through take notice of the consistence. Is it completely smooth or can you discern tiny particles in the melt? Is it creamy and moist or bitter and dry? Some super smooth chocolates may come across as bland. It is because long refining may cause some loss of taste and aroma. Rougher melt resulting from shorter processing may stay „truer to the bean“.

Now concentrate on how the taste develops – from the intial impact to the peak of intensity and the gradual finish. Did the experience follow a curve or was it flat? How long was the finish? Did you enjoy all the constituent parts of the taste‘s development? If not, which ones did you like and which ones did you not? Try to put your experience into words. It will help you remember it. And even better – write them down. If you do, you will have tasting notes to compare and you will soon be on the way to becoming a chocolate connoisseur...

 
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