The Simple Art of Tasting Chocolate
You don’t need experience or specialized knowledge...
The simple act of paying attention is enough.
You’ll discover flavors you didn’t know existed. You’ll be surprised and delighted. And you’ll enjoy your chocolate so much more.
You may not slow down for this little tasting exercise every time you eat a piece of chocolate. But do yourself a favor and try it at least once. Ideally, go through these three steps at least once with each new chocolate you try.
Your appreciation of quality chocolate will soar.
1) Preparing to Taste
Before you taste, avoid putting on flavored lip balm and scented hand lotion.
If you just ate or drank something with a strong flavor, cleanse your palate by swishing around some water. (Warm water works best, but cold will do.)
Now, set aside any distractions. Put away your phone. Turn off your TV or laptop. Maybe even put on some nice music. And sit in a comfortable spot.
2) Start To Use Your Senses: Touch and Smell
Feel a piece of chocolate between your fingers. Is it smooth or rough? Does it start to melt quickly or not at all?
Bring it to your nose and smell it. Do you smell anything familiar? Maybe it smells chocolatey, fruity, or like spices.
3) Place It In Your Mouth and Let It Melt
Depending on the chocolate and its temperature, your chocolate may have started to melt in your hard. Or it may not start melting even after its in your mouth.
If it doesn't start to melt, bite it a couple times. But then, let it melt in your mouth.
Concentrate on the flavor and the texture. You may want to close your eyes.
Take mental notes of anything and everything. Is it fruity, nutty, acidic, or earthy? Is it smooth, grainy, or fudgy? Does it make you smile?
Build a vocabulary for your sense of taste...
Do your best to go beyond words like “good” or “bad.” Ask yourself what is good or bad? Describe it any way you can…
Sour, bitter, acidic, sweet, chocolatey, fruity, floral, minty, nutty.
A lot of craft chocolate makers include tasting notes on their packaging. Can you pick up on any of the flavors the makers tasted?
If nothing comes to mind, make something up. There are no wrong answers.
You can also look at our Chocolate Tasting Wheel for cues. Sometimes seeing a word triggers a match. "Aha! That's what I tasted!" (View our full Chocolate Tasting Wheel right here.)
Take Written Notes
If you're feeling ambitious, take notes of the whole experience. Go as deep as you can.
Did the flavors change from the moment it hit your tongue to the "finish?" (Notice our Tasting Wheel is laid out like a clock, for just this reason.)
Mix, Match, and Repeat
Try two different chocolates one after the other. Pair your chocolate with wine, beer, whiskey, tea, or coffee. Repeat this process with the same chocolate at a different time.
Watch how the flavors change depending on the pairing. You'll be amazed at the different flavors that arise.
Enjoy the Experience
Some chocolates will WOW you right off the bat. Some will grow on you. And you’ll be extra generous with other chocolates, sharing a little more than usual with family and friends.
Slow down for a minute or two when you try a new chocolate. Taste it. Appreciate it for what it is. Every chocolate is unique and even has its own backstory.
If you do that, we’ll consider ourselves successful. One of our goals at The Latest Batch is to help you to slow down…
Savor the flavors. Savor the experience. And go a little deeper into what life offers.
As we say in Costa Rica, Pura Vida,
The Latest Batch team