International Chocolate Awards

Bean to Bar Chocolate

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Easy steps on how to taste chocolate

We’ve all tried chocolate,  this is not new.

But did you know that tasting chocolate can be as complex as tasting wine, whiskey or coffee?

Have you ever tried to savor chocolate in a mindful way? Taking your time to discover the different flavors in every bite.

Many factors can alter the way you perceive chocolate flavors, and with the following tips, we want to help you improve your chocolate experience.

First: Preparation 

First of all, make sure you have some good quality chocolate.

Nowadays there are many brands to pick from, and although normally not always available in grocery stores, organic or premium stores normally have different options to choose from.

Additionally, if you will taste different chocolate bars, make sure you have some water and some bread or saltine crackers available to cleanse your palate between tastings. And you should avoid strong flavors before or between tastings. Coffee or even wine will avoid the appearance of the different hidden chocolate flavors and notes, unless your are specifically pairing them to reveal new flavors.

Look, Hear, Smell

Let’s start by looking at the packaging. Fine chocolate makers are being more and more creative when designing their wrappers. Colorful, shiny, with texture, are just some of the things you should be looking for. Every packaging is being designed to attract people to buying it, so as you can see, imagination is key.

Now let’s look at the chocolate itself. Is it shiny or opaque? Does it have any smudges, or any white blemishes?

Ideally, chocolate should have a shiny smooth surface, and without smudges or spots. This is thanks to the tempering process, which if done correctly forms the right crystal structure to make this glossy appearance and the ideal texture.

Now, break a piece of chocolate. You should hear a clear “snap”. This is another characteristic of well tempered chocolate and of course, the ability of a good chocolate maker.

Take the chocolate piece close to your nose and inhale its aroma. This is actually a very important step before tasting the chocolate, since it can prepare you buds for the flavors to come.

Any aromas you can already identify? Pay attention to recognize sweet vanilla like or fruity scents, or maybe stronger spicy smells.

The Tasting Experience

Now let’s go and taste the chocolate!

Place a piece of chocolate in your mouth and let it melt for a couple of seconds. You can bite once or twice to help the melting process, but don’t chew or swallow.

The melted chocolate should spread around your mouth.  What do you notice? Let’s focus on texture, flavor and finish.

Do you feel the chocolate dry or creamy? Grainy or smooth? This will depend on the production and grinding process itself. Many chocolate makers focus on making extreme silky bars, while other choose to leave the chocolate unrefined to exalt raw sensations.

What about flavors? Anything that pops out while the chocolate melts? Can you identify any fruity, floral or spicy notes? Or maybe strong nutty, earthy or smoky flavors? Chocolate flavors can vary significantly, depending on the cacao content, origins of beans and production process. So take your time, that new flavors will appear and change as chocolate melts in your mouth.

The finish

And last but not least, the finish. After the chocolate has melted completely, do the flavors disappear rapidly, or do you sense a long-lasting flavor. You will notice that one small piece of chocolate comes a long way in terms of finish. So enjoy!

Interest in chocolate tasting and even pairings are growing rapidly. You might find some chocolate makers sharing some insights and recommendations. For example, Taza Chocolate even indicates how to taste chocolate and how to pair their bars to with wine.

Now that you know how to enjoy chocolate, why not throw a chocolate tasting party with friends and family? Find yourself some good quality chocolate and enjoy! If you are looking for something specific, take a look at our gift boxes. We most probably have the right box for you!

The key is taking it slowly and savouring each piece of chocolate. These easy steps will help you elevate your tasting experience and appreciate the quality of the chocolate. But remember, however you decide to taste chocolate, is ultimately up to you to define what is good chocolate and what type of chocolate you like best.