Steps of Tasting Chocolate
1. Start by clearing your palate, meaning, you should not contain residual flavors from a previous meal. To do this, drink some water or eat an unsalted plain soda cracker. This is crucial in order to taste the subtleties of chocolate’s complex flavor.
2. In order to accommodate the full evolution of the chocolates’ flavor profile, a 10g portion size for tasting should be a minimum starting point.
3. Allow the chocolate to rest at room temperature before tasting. Cold temperatures will hinder your ability to detect the flavors.
4. Inspect the chocolate to ensure it’s free of blemishes such as white marks (called bloom). Observe the color to determine the manufacturer’s job at molding and tempering. Does the chocolate appear to have been crafted carefully or slovenly? The bar should have a radiant sheen. Chocolate comes in a multifarious brown rainbow with various tints, such as pinks, purples, reds, and oranges. What do you see?
5. Break the piece in half. It should resonate with a resounding “SNAP!” and exhibit a fine gradient along the broken edge.
6. Smell the chocolate, especially at the break point. The aroma is an important component of flavor.
7. Place the chocolate on the tongue, and allow it to arrive at body temperature. Let it melt. Chew it only to break it into small enough pieces that it begins to melt on its own. This step is crucial, for it allows the cocoa butter to distribute evenly in the mouth, which mutes any astringencies or bitterness in the chocolate.
8. Observe the taste and texture. As the chocolate melts, concentrate on the flavors that are enveloping your tongue. Low quality chocolates will have a grainy almost cement-like texture.
9. Now the chocolate is nearing its finish. How has the flavor evolved? Is the chocolate bitter? Heavy? Light? Was the texture smooth or grainy? Do any changes in texture and flavor occur? Take note of how the chocolate leaves the palate. Note any metallic or unpleasant flavors in the finish. This is a sign of stale or lower quality chocolate.
10. Repeat the process with a different chocolate.