Here at CocoaRunners, we firmly believe that there’s no such thing as a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to enjoy chocolate. But we do think that there are one or two tricks that we could share to make every new bar you try even more enjoyable…
We’re going to give you a sneak peak into our world and share the techniques our tasting panel use each time they come to taste a new bar. Identifying the different flavour notes might be feel a little strange at first but we promise that within a few bites you’ll be picking up overtones and undertones with ease.
Take the chocolate tasting process step-by-step as shown below and in no time you’ll find that you’ve kick started a love affair with beautiful hand-made artisan chocolate bars.
Before you start, find somewhere quiet and free from strong smells to enjoy your chocolate. Have a glass of water or some fresh bread handy as a palate cleanser between tastings.
You’ll be amazed at just how different chocolate can taste at different times of day too. There’s no right or wrong time, but it’s always interesting to see the difference between how a chocolate tastes in the morning and the evening. Try it!
Start by carefully opening the wrapper of your chocolate bar, and while it’s still in the pack, breathe in the aroma. Remove the chocolate from the wrapper and have a good look at it. In many cases, a good chocolate bar will have a glossy appearance.
Break a piece of chocolate off. It should break with a clear “snap” sound. That’s another sign of a well tempered chocolate and a skilled chocolate maker. Breaking the chocolate will release more aroma, so bring it to your nose and inhale to take it all in.
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Place a small piece of chocolate on your tongue, and most importantly of all, don’t chew that first piece. The key to getting the most from your chocolate is to let it melt slowly on your tongue. If it’s been made well it should start to melt quite quickly. As it melts, it will start to release flavours. It might be fruity, floral, earthy or spicy, but the chances are the flavours you pick up will evolve as the chocolate melts. The more chocolate you taste, the more you’ll find you’re able to pick out much more distinct flavours.
Is it smooth or grainy? If a chocolate is conched for longer, it will often have a smaller particle size and a smoother texture. If it feels glossy or fatty on the tongue, that can be a sign that a lot of cocoa butter has been added to the chocolate.
A good chocolate will also leave a lasting flavour in your mouth. This “finish” can stay with you for several minutes after the chocolate has melted, and is part of the reason why you only need a small piece of chocolate to get the best possible experience.
We hope that these top tips will help you to savour and enjoy the first bite of each and every new bar you try… How long the bar lasts after that is completely up to you!