Did you know there was a secret to eating chocolate?
Let it melt in your mouth! Chocolate can release multiple flavors as it melts.
You don’t need to be an expert to taste chocolate. In fact, all you need is some high-quality chocolate and a little patience! Here is a step-by-step guide to tasting chocolate at home:
Look: Dark chocolate should have a rich brown color (color will vary with bean origin and cocoa percentage) and a beautifully glossy surface.
Break: A clean, crisp snap reveals that the chocolate is in temper, meaning the cocoa butter, or natural fat of the cocoa bean, has bonded with the cocoa solids. A proper temper gives chocolate its optimal texture.
Taste: Let a small piece of chocolate melt in your mouth. Is it creamy and smooth, or slightly dry and complex? Chocolate can release multiple flavors as it melts. Breathe in, drawing air over your palate to emphasize these tastes.
The most common flavors found in chocolate fall into a number of different categories. Here are a few examples to help guide you to the perfect flavor descriptions:
- Sweet - honey, vanilla, malt
- Bitter - coffee, hoppy beer, tonic water
- Dairy/Caramel - cream, butterscotch, crème brûlée
- Fruity - berry, stone fruit, citrus, jam
- Floral - lavender, rose, tea
- Sour - vinegar, lemon, sour milk
- Vegetal - tobacco, grass, eucalyptus
- Earthy - wood, smoke, mushrooms
- Roasted - toast, nuts, smoke
- Spicy - black pepper, chili pepper, cinnamon
- Chocolaty - brownie, chocolate pudding, hot cocoa
Finish: Take one more deep breath to help analyze the chocolate’s finish. “Finish” describes how long the flavor lasts in your mouth, and the residual experience on your palate, such as mild, harsh, astringent, smooth, spicy, mellow, etc.