A good quality chocolate should titillate all your senses; it is the overall balance of the different facets of a chocolate that will make it an enjoyable experience. Have a go at chocolate tasting. There is no right or wrong in the process as we all have different tastes. There are however a few guidelines that you may find useful.
Tip! Before you begin your tasting, make sure that your chocolate has been brought up to room temperature (not too warm) as its flavour and texture will be enhanced.
The 5 senses
Your chocolate if properly tempered, cooled and stored should look glossy and smooth with a fine grain. The colour will vary according to the cocoa content and the origin of the chocolate.
The chocolate has a lovely shine
The bar on the right shows sugar bloom
Example of fat bloom
Chocolate bloom is a mouldy-looking white coating that can appear on the surface of chocolate. This effect is one of the main concerns in the production of chocolate. There are two types of bloom: fat bloom, arising from changes in the fat in the chocolate; and sugar bloom, formed by the action of moisture on the sugar ingredients. Bloom is related to heat and humidity, so store your chocolate in a dark, cool and dry place. While it affects the aesthetics of the chocolate it is not harmful to eat chocolate that has bloomed.
Tip! Avoid keeping your chocolates in the refrigerator but make sure they are kept in a cool, dark and dry place.
Tasting chocolate is like tasting wine; you may notice major 'notes' but also more specific differences.
The aromas you will commonly find are:
• In milk chocolate: milk, cream, malt
• In dark chocolate: toasted nuts, roasted coffee, dried fruit, wine
• In some chocolate you will even find floral and fruity notes
The texture of your chocolate will give you a very good indication of its quality. You should listen out for it to snap when you break it or bite into it. Milk and white chocolate will have a more gentle 'snap' as their fat content makes them softer.
By this I mean the sensation you get when you let the chocolate melt in your mouth. Would you say your chocolate is smooth, creamy, slimy, gritty or grainy? Does it dissolve rapidly? Does it feel greasy or dry?
If you take another piece and chew it this time, what does it feel like? Is it chewy? Fudge like? Does it stick to your palate? Is it a pleasant sensation?
Taste is essential to a good chocolate and a bit like for wine the questions you could ask yourself are:
• How intense is the flavour?
• How quickly does it come on?
• Is there a difference in the flavour from start to finish?
• How long does the flavour last? What sort of taste are you left with?
• For filled or flavoured chocolates, how enjoyable is the marriage of flavours?
• How sweet is it?
Tip! Make sure that the place where you keep your chocolate is odour free as chocolate tends to pick up undesirable flavours.
Tip! You should taste no more than 5 or 6 chocolates per tasting.
Now you could download our tasting sheets and start your chocolate discovery. Happy tasting!