You could scarf down some chocolate mindlessly while watching your favorite TV show. Or you could take a peaceful moment out of your day to have a mindful chocolate tasting. If you choose the 2nd option, get ready for that wonderful sensorial journey that only chocolate can offer. Here is how you can enjoy chocolate with all your senses:
Pay attention to the piece of chocolate you are about to taste and look at its appearance before you put it in your mouth. The surface should be smooth and shiny, indicating a successful tempering process and attentive storing conditions. Chocolate can also take up different shades of brown depending on many factors like the cacao variety and the roasting time. On a scale from light brown to almost black, try to identify the shade you are looking at. Don’t forget to also appreciate the tiny details of the design.
Is the chocolate soft or hard? Is it sticky, grainy, sandy or velvety? Is it crispy or crunchy? Getting to know the feeling of a chocolate will help you recognize it again in the future. Melting the chocolate, a little bit with your fingers before the tasting will also help the flavors release faster in the mouth.
Break a piece of the chocolate and focus on the sound it makes. Did it break easily? Neatly? Drily? A chocolate that snaps without too much effort is usually a sign that the balance between cocoa solids and cocoa butter is right.
Did you know that taste is 90% smell? You will have noticed that food is more tasteless when you have a cold, and your nose is blocked up. So, take your time to smell the chocolate and experience all its aromas. Good cocoa smells often remind us of natural products such as fruits, flowers, woodlands or spices. Smells like mold, plastic or smoke are usually not a good sign.
When tasting chocolate, try just a small, fingernail-sized piece. Put it on your tongue and let it melt for a few seconds. Start chewing and breaking it into smaller chinks. Then stop, relax and allow for all the flavors to be released and spread around your mouth.
Now you are well on your way to amazing chocolate tastings!