Chocolate Tasting: Helpful Tips

Relate the flavors that you taste in chocolate to flavors, smells and experiences familiar to you, no matter how corny or off beat they may be, and whether they are pleasant or unpleasant. Don't forget food memories. Chocolate flavor has been compared to strange things like “buttered toast,” “egg custard,” dirty leaves...You may describe the sweetness in terms of sugar, brown sugar, molasses, honey, caramel or some other sweet food memory.

Consider tartness, acidity, and bitterness as well. If these are detected, are they pleasing or displeasing to you? Do you taste vanilla? Does the chocolate taste nutty? What kind of nuts, and are they toasted nuts or raw? Do you taste fruit, and is it dried fruit or fresh fruit, citrus or other? Do you taste coffee?

Connoisseurs appreciate complexity in chocolate, rather than a single constant flavor. But even connoisseurs disagree about what they taste and what they like.

Professional tasters also appreciate balance and the overall intensity of the chocolate flavor. Deciding which chocolates taste "in perfect harmony or balance" or which "strike the perfect intensity" is up to the individual and is completely personal, and often develops with chocolate tasting experience.

Practice! Beginners may not taste or be able to describe as many flavors as seasoned tasters, but continued practice is both pleasurable and rewarding.

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