Chocolate Tasting: The Ultimate Flavor Key

There are not many greater joys in life than tasting the delicious flavors chocolate has to offer. With so many flavors to choose from, many are complex and wonderfully rich.

When delving into the taste of different chocolates, you will soon find that there is a wide variation.

Chocolate Tasting: The Ultimate Flavor Key

In dark chocolates alone, the flavor compounds exceed those that are found in red wine.

There’s no doubt that most of us like to treat ourselves with a piece (or slab) of chocolate now and again (every day!) But, have you ever stopped and thought about what it is you’re actually tasting?

Yes, it’s often delicious, but there is so much more to tasting chocolate than most people would think.

To help you understand the complex flavors of chocolate, we have compiled this guide.

After reading this, you will experience chocolate in a whole new, enlightened way.

First, we will talk you through how best to taste chocolate with some simple steps.

How To Taste Chocolate Properly 

To begin this chocolate tasting adventure, you will need to find an assortment of chocolates and a peaceful space. You can either do this alone or ask some friends to join.

Chances are, as soon as you mention the words “chocolate tasting,” you will be bombarded with volunteers!

Here’s how to taste chocolate, in a professional sense:

Step One – Test The Temperature

We recommend avoiding cold chocolate as the colder temperatures can often mask the overall flavor. Instead, use chocolate that is at room temperature.

Just make sure you don’t let your chocolate get too warm, as you will end up with a melted, sticky mess.

Step Two – Cleansing Your Palate 

To cleanse your palate, simply drink a glass of water.

For the best cleanse, we suggest using sparkling water, as this will freshen up your taste buds for the magic that is about to ensue. 

Step Three – Visually Inspect Your Chocolate 

Now, it’s time to look at the chocolate in front of you. Ideally, it should sport a bright sheen and not appear dull.

If it does have a dull appearance, it may not have been molded correctly, but its taste should not be affected.

Inspect the chocolate’s color. There may be pink hues interspersed throughout the characteristic brown color. Note this down.

Step Four – Touch The Chocolate 

Here, you need to carefully and slowly run your fingers across the chocolate’s surface. Note the texture of it. Is it creamy or dry? Smooth or grainy?

Step Five – Smell The chocolate 

This part is hard, as you are probably raring to bite into your chocolate already! But, aroma is hugely important when it comes to flavor, especially for chocolate.

Take a sniff of your chocolate and note down its profile.

Step Six – Break The Chocolate In Half 

It’s time to snap the chocolate into half. If you hear a clear snapping sound, the chocolate is ready to try.

But, if the snap is met with a dull thud, the chocolate may be too hot.

Step Seven – Taste The Chocolate

At last! Slowly place the chocolate on your tongue, allowing it to gradually melt. At this point, your taste buds will slowly become saturated in the cocoa butter.

As this process continues, chew just once, or twice. This will release more flavors that are lurking.

Just do not chew as soon as the chocolate is on your tongue, as any bitterness in the chocolate may overwhelm your taste buds and palate. 

Step Eight – Analyze And, Most Importantly, Enjoy The Chocolate 

Once you have tasted the chocolate, it’s time for some evaluation. Think about the combination of the flavor and aroma, and how this came together.

Was this combo sweet, light, heavy, or bitter? Then, consider these alongside the chocolate’s texture and how it changed as it melted.

Once the chocolate has all gone from your palate, note if the flavor lingers, and for how long. Did the flavor disappear quickly, or stay for a while? 

Most importantly, savor and enjoy the chocolate. Doing so slowly, though, will open up a whole new world of chocolate flavors that you may never have experienced before. 

We recommend trying different varieties of chocolate. This way, you can find out more about their differences and discover what types of chocolates are your favorites.

Who knows? Do this long enough, and you could become a professional chocolate taster. What a job!

Taste Tests With Different Types Of Chocolate 

The best way to experience the flavors of chocolate is to taste different types. You can even try different interpretations by one manufacturer to see the differences.

But, when doing so, there are some steps you need to consider, such as:

  1. Having a glass of water – This acts as a palate cleanser, but after tasting each chocolate, it will rinse away any contaminants within the mouth. We recommend sparkling water between each tasting. Water always quenches the thirst that is often associated with eating chocolate.
  2. Keep a palate cleanser close by – Like having water, a type of palate cleanser should be kept nearby. Examples include a piece of bread or piece of an apple. These will wash away any residual favors left over, but not leave any of their own flavors in their wake. In fact, use both steps one and two as the bread and/or apple will clear your palate, while the water will wash away any contaminants leftover. 
  3. Work your way up from lower percentages – Some chocolates tend to be very strong and can overpower others easily, in terms of taste. If you are trying various chocolates that have the same percentage, find out which is the strongest beforehand. If one has a bolder character, this should be tasted afterward, as not to overpower the other chocolate. 
  4. Wait some time between each chocolate tasting – Residual flavors can linger for a long time and can easily contaminate the next chocolate’s flavor. In this time between tastings, evaluate the tasting experience. 

In Summary

There are a number of factors to look out for when tasting chocolate, such as aroma and texture.

As long as you take your time and do not chew more than three times, you can enjoy the varied and intense flavors that chocolates so often provide.

Rebecca Holmes