Ask any chocolate expert, and they'll tell you that chocolate is a complex food that isn't best appreciated by scarfing it down. Like any fine wine, high quality chocolate has hundreds of flavor nuances that can only be detected by indulging slowly and carefully.
Unfortunately, this kind of chocolate eating seems all but foreign to many Western chocolate eaters. Each year, more than 90 million pounds are purchased for Halloween, and the U.S. is responsible for 20% of global cocoa imports. Despite these massive numbers, you don't often see kids take the time to taste the coffee and vanilla notes in their Hershey bar. Rather, they scarf it down, eagerly searching their candy bag for the next chocolate treasure.
But it doesn't have to be this way. The best dark chocolate contains a world of flavor nuances that are ready to be discovered. All it takes is a little know-how.
So, are you ready to learn how to taste chocolate like a pro? Follow these tips for chocolatey success:
Do Your Homework
Like any wine, the flavor of chocolate is heavily impacted by natural factors such as climate, soil type, variety of cocoa, and a number of other factors, such as the fermentation process of the beans and how they are dried and roasted. That being said, different batches of chocolate will have different tastes. Consequently, the best tasting experience will result from the highest quality chocolate. Find the best dark chocolate suppliers out there to provide you with pure dark chocolate. Chocolate suppliers also usually have milk chocolate, but this is often convoluted with additives and milk that negatively affect the flavor.
Choose the Right Setting
Believe it nor not, tasting chocolate is done best in an environment that's free of distracting smells, noises, and a temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. As for the chocolate itself, it should also be at room temperature. This will allow it to release flavors as it melts on your tongue.
Clear Your Palate
Having a clear palate ensures that you'll be able to taste every note of the chocolate. The best way to do so is with a bit of bread or apple.
Use All of Your Senses
When tasting, take note of the chocolate's appearance. A good quality chocolate will have a glossy sheen to it. If your chocolate has a whitish tinge or "bloom," it should be avoided. Top quality chocolate suppliers should take away any of your worries of poor quality chocolate.
Then, smell the chocolate. Break it to release its aroma. Quality chocolate will smell like chocolate, rather than additives.
Taste the Chocolate
Finally, the magic happens. Place the chocolate on your tongue and let it melt slowly. This will help you distinguish different flavors in the chocolate.
Have you ever tasted chocolate? Let us know below!