Chocolate is a treat that many of us enjoy, but did you know that there are ways to fully appreciate its flavour beyond just eating it? Chocolate tasting is an experience that engages all of your senses, from sight and smell to touch and taste. In this article, we'll take you through the five steps of chocolate tasting, so that you can fully appreciate the journey of this delectable treat.
Step 1: See
The first step is to take a good look at your chocolate bar. You should see a beautiful, glossy sheen. This is a sign that the chocolate has been well-tempered and stored in optimal conditions. If the chocolate looks dull or has a white bloom, it could be a sign of poor tempering or improper storage.
Step 2: Hear
Next, break your chocolate into pieces. You should hear a clean "snap" sound, which is a sign of quality. Well-tempered chocolate makes an audible snap and is likely to melt in the mouth at the perfect rate to release a full range of flavours.
Step 3: Smell
Cup a piece of chocolate in your hand and bring it close to your nose before inhaling. Aroma is vital for experiencing the full flavour of chocolate, so it's important to make the most of it. When you first unwrap a bar, you'll almost certainly experience some of what the chocolate has to offer, but to experience the full aroma, you should get closer to the chocolate.
Step 4: Touch
Place the chocolate on your tongue and allow it to melt. Good chocolate should have a smooth, silky texture. A smooth and well-tempered chocolate will melt evenly over the tongue without leaving residue behind.
Step 5: Taste
Finally, identify the distinct flavour notes as they develop. If the chocolate releases flavour too slowly, bite it a couple of times, but try not to chew. Is it nutty, fruity, or floral? What kind of fruit does it remind you of? A flavour wheel is a good tool for identifying subtle nuances.
Bonus Step: A Burst of Flavour
If you're having trouble identifying a flavour or aroma, here's a simple trick to maximize both. Allow a piece of chocolate to melt on your tongue for a few moments, holding your nose. Once it has melted, release your nose, inhale, and you should experience a more intense burst of aroma and flavour.
In conclusion, chocolate tasting is a journey that engages all of your senses. By following these five steps, you can fully appreciate the skill of the maker and the quality of the ingredients in your chocolate. Whether you're a chocolate lover or just looking to expand your tasting horizons, these steps will help you get the most out of every bite.