If you’re a chocoholic (and chances are pretty good you are!), then you already know and appreciate a lot about chocolate.
But have you ever wondered if there’s a right way to taste chocolate?
Sampling a piece of sumptuous chocolate is a task for all five senses. Here’s a quick guide:
- Start by scent—yes, really
Get your taste buds ready for happy times by smelling your chocolate before you bite into it. Can you pick out any other scents like vanilla, spices, or fruit flavours?
Chocolate Connoisseur Tip: If you have trouble detecting any scents, lightly rub your thumb against the chocolate to warm it up, then try smelling it again.
- Enjoy what you’re seeing
How a piece of chocolate looks can tell you a lot about its quality. That said, colour isn’t usually a good way to judge chocolate: Milk chocolate tends to be more matte whereas dark chocolate is shiny.
It’s actually more what you don’t want to see in your chocolate.
Seeing any air bubbles? You shouldn’t be. It’s a sign that the chocolate-creation process wasn’t as refined as it can be.
What about a white coating on top? That’s known as blooming, and it happens if the chocolate wasn’t tempered (melted) or stored properly.
- Hear that snapping sound
If you’re about to try a solid bar of dark chocolate, hold it between your thumbs and index fingers and break it in half. Did you hear a “snap” when it broke? Quality dark chocolate will break easily and neatly—if it’s brittle or soft, the chocolate may be either past its date or has been stored incorrectly.
Milk chocolate has a higher milk content (as you might expect!) and it tends to have a softer snap.
- Feel the chocolate, know the chocolate
High-quality chocolate melts on touch. Rub a piece of chocolate between your thumb and index finger and feel the texture once it begins to melt. What does it feel like: grainy, velvety or something in between?
If you have the good stuff, you should be feeling a smooth texture with very fine particles.
- Go ahead, take a bite!
Here’s the best part. Place a small piece of chocolate on your tongue and breathe in the flavours. How does the texture feel? What aromas can you identify? Does the taste change? High-quality chocolate has surprising layers of flavour and the “finishing” taste may be different from what you tasted at the start.
Chocolate Connoisseur Tip: If you’re tasting several different pieces of chocolate in one sitting, make sure to always start with the darkest chocolate and work your way to the lightest so you don’t experience palate fatigue. You should also “reset” your palate by chewing an unsalted cracker and drinking room-temperature water in between tastings.