Everyone knows that chocolate makes a great holiday gift! But if you are lucky enough to get chocolate this holiday season, do you know how to taste it? If you want to enjoy great chocolate, it’s not as simple as just putting it in your mouth!
Tasting craft chocolate can be broken down into four steps:
1) Look at the Chocolate - This might sound obvious (or pointless) – but not all chocolate looks the same. Why? Because good chocolate comes from great beans and great cacao beans can have distinctive colors. Learn to enjoy the look of a great chocolate bar. If it is well tempered it should also be nice and shiny!
2) Break the Chocolate - No, you don’t need to smash it to pieces. But you should always break off a piece of chocolate before tasting it and assess the chocolate’s “snap.” If the chocolate feels more crumbly or “fudgy” then it is probably not in proper temper. The higher the cacao percentage, the “snappier” the chocolate will be (these are very scientific terms).
3) Smell the Chocolate - If you allow the chocolate to melt slightly under the heat of your fingertip it will release its amazing chocolate aroma. Like good wine, craft chocolate does not all smell alike! Learn to appreciate the differences between beans from different origins. You’ll impress (and annoy) your friends!
4) Taste the Chocolate – Finally! The part that you have been waiting for, actually tasting the delicious chocolate. But please, resist the urge to just chow down. Craft chocolate should be savored. It should melt on your tongue and the flavors should be allowed to develop slowly. Really good chocolate will have complex flavors that emerge over time as you enjoy it.
If you want to learn more about how an expert tastes chocolate, check out this article in Bon Appetit about how our friend Georg does it!
And if you are looking for a gift for the aspiring chocolate taster in your life, head on over to our sister site and get them Georg’s incredible book. (Hint: Use promo code “Shelby” for 10% off).