Tasting Fine Chocolate – How to taste chocolate like an expert

Chocolate tasting is often compared to wine tasting.

On the one hand, this is a fantastic analogy, because the cocoa bean really does give us a whole world of different flavors to savor.

On the other hand, though it makes fine chocolate sound like a thing that can only be enjoyed by aficionados, and I don’t think fine chocolate should be limited in that way.

So, like wine, there is something unique to look out for.

Join the Dark Side?

So why would someone make that leap from high-street, Dairy Milk to chocolate with a high cocoa content?

Does fine chocolate really taste better?  What is it about fine chocolate that makes some people weep with joy?

And why might people assume they don’t like dark chocolate?

Dark Chocolate in the Dark Ages

Actually, the answer to that last question is easy.  Do you remember Bournville?

If you are anything like me, that chalky, bitter, bland flavor was what I grew up thinking dark chocolate was all about.

Well let’s be clear, we have come a long way in the UK since then!

So, What should you look out for?

With so many tastes and textures that can leap forward when tasting chocolate, here are a few to look out for:

  • Bitter
  • Roasted
  • Earthy
  • Woody
  • Nutty
  • Spicy
  • Floral
  • Fruit

As you taste each lovely piece, concentrate on which elements leap out and which sneak up on you and linger on the palate.

Better still, for a more complete experience, why not try pairing up your chocolate tasting experience with a bit of wine tasting.

Combining the two can make for quite a luxurious encounter.

Wine, Chocolate and a smile…

Easy steps to chocolate and wine pairing– Swirl, sniff, sip, swish, smile

  • Swirl the wine in the glass. Oxygenate the wine to bring out its bouquet.
  • Sniff the wine and pay attention to your senses. What are the various tastes and textures?
  • Take a little sip of wine.
  • Swish. There are over ten thousand taste buds in the mouth; by simply swallowing the wine without a dedicated swish first, the taste buds located on the back and sides of the tongue will be left out of the whole enjoyable wine tasting experience.
  • Nibble some chocolate.
    Let the chocolate melt on your tongue. Detect different flavors.
  • Sip a little more wine and swirl together with the chocolate. Send your taste buds into a tale spin.
  • Repeat if necessary!

A match made in Heaven…

Some chocolate and wine pairing tips:

  • Pair up lighter-flavored chocolates with light wines, and more intense-flavored chocolates with more full-bodied wines.
  • Try dark chocolate with rich Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon,
  • Milk chocolate goes beautifully with Merlot or a nice dessert wine
  • To compliment white chocolate, go for a Muscat or Sherry

The most important tip – have fun!

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