Chocolate can bestow upon us a sensory overload if we are not careful. When properly tasted we can fulfill all of our senses thus turning it into a true experience! We need to be aware of our five senses and process them in this order;
Sight: Is this a milk or dark chocolate? You can usually tell by the color variation. Is it shinny? An indication of proper temper.
Sound: Break a piece off in your hand, listen to the sound it makes. A sharp snap indicates proper temper as well. Milk chocolate’s snap is softer, because of the added milk. The more milk, the quieter. If you are tasting a filled chocolate you can hear the snap as you bite into it, rather than break it into pieces.
Feel: Rub the piece a little with your finger to warm it and release the aroma.
Smell: The scent entices us and helps to set an expectation of the flavors we are about to savor. Can you note any specific aromas?
Taste: Place the chocolate on your tongue and feel the smoothness as it melts. Then use your tongue to push it against the roof of your mouth and feel it melt there. As the piece melts flavors slowly emerge, take note of these individual flavors. Are they fruity, roasty, or caramel like? The possibilities are almost endless.
*Good chocolate has a cocoa flavor that lasts through the taste and is not dominated by bitterness or sweetness.*
If tasting more than one variety at a time, be sure to start with the lighter chocolates first and end with the darkest. Good palate cleansers are water and plain unsalted crackers, or green apples.