My single origin Republica del Cacao bars (freaking buttery-floral-complex and fantastic, btw), came with a little slip of paper detailing how to taste chocolate like a pro, all tips that I immediately sat down with a zen-like determination to follow through to the exact letter*
Monday, October 12, 2009
Appearance: Observe its colour, remember that colour is not equal to dark chocolate flavor. Observe its glow, bloom, an ashy coating on the surface, is due to changes in the crystal structure of fat. This coating is easily removed by wiping it.
Aroma: Break a small piece of chocolate with one hand [eds note: whaaat? that's hard!], rub the sample with your fingertip and with your other hand cup the sample over your mouth and nose, then smell the surrounding air space. Take a few short breaths to allow sufficient residence time of the volatiles in the nasal cavity where sensory receptors are located. To clear residuals or fatigue, take in neutral air.
Taste: Break a small piece of chocolate with your front teeth (feel its texture). Allow the sample to sit on your tongue and let it melt as flavours develop and merge. You will taste the flavours as the chocolate sample melts down. Note the evolution of flavour upon impact, notice flavours that increase or diminish. "End of mouth": a lingering flavour in your mouth after swallowing indicating wether the chocolate has a long or short ending.
Touch: Does it cool or warm your mouth as it melts? Rub the melting sample against your palate to feels its smoothness. Does the melted sample have body; Does it leave an oily feeling?
Listen: A clear and dry "snap" sound means the chocolate has been through a correct and careful process.
- Notes on Tasting, Adapted from "The Chocolatier" Chloe Doutre-Roussel
* instructions that I followed to the exact letter up until the point came to type them all out - at which time I added a whole bunch of letter U's to all the misspelled occurrences of "color". (grin grin)