How to taste chocolate like a pro

How to taste chocolate like a pro

Like fine wines, speciality coffee and craft beer, there's a lot more to chocolate than meets the tongue. The knowledge around real chocolate in the UK is still miniscule as many of us have childhood connotations to big branded confectionary chocolate, like Cadbury's, Nestle and the big players. But the issues lies in a lack of understanding of what real, flavoursome chocolate from single origin beans actually is and why it's so different to the chocolate you buy in your everyday supermarket.

So, if you find yourself faced with the opportunity to try what we like to call REAL chocolate (single origin, bean to bar chocolate), here's our top tips on how to make the most of it, and ensure you're tasting the flavours and textures of that bar of chocolate.  

1.  Prepare your surroundings

Right, so we know for many £5+ for a bar of chocolate can seem expensive, so we want to ensure you taste and enjoy it to its optimum, this isn't a bar for scoffing down when you get the munchies or the spot of sweet cravings, this is a luxury bar, that we really want you to truly enjoy. So set the scene, light a candle, get a fire going, clear the decks or get a mug of your favourite coffee and make sure you set up to enjoy the bar, whether with friends or on your own. 

2. Room temperature is best

The fridge is a no go zone for chocolate. Chocolate absorbs moisture and flavours so we avoid storing it in moist areas. Make sure its stored in a cupboard at room temperature before digging in

3. Find your inner child

Now's the time to really enjoy and cherish that special moment. Whenever I'm trying a new bar of a different bean to bar maker, one of my favourite parts is the unwrapping. There's such variety in the style of bars, moulds and packaging used in bean to bar craft chocolate, the detail that goes into each bar is so unique. So I take my time and take note of as many details as possible. Just like a child enjoying a present for the first time, sometimes their favourite part is the unwrapping! 

4. Let the nose lead the way

Similarly to how we smell fine wines before taking that first sip, there's a lot to take in when smelling a chocolate bar for the first time, flavour notes can be distinguished - does the smell trigger any memories or sensations? Take a deep inhale and take in the aromas. You should be able to detect the cocoa, as well as any other scents that might be present, such as vanilla or fruits.

5. Texture and taste

There's a few varying suggestions on how this next part goes, but here's our recommendation. Ensure your palette is clean, so no garlic straight before tasting please. Next up, snap a small chunk off the bar, and again smell it before placing in your mouth, and rather than chewing the chocolate, let it encase your mouth with the flavour. Move it around your mouth to fully coat your taste buds. This should give you a really good first taste of the bar and allow you to recognise some of the tasting notes. Then on the second bite, once your mouth has had the opportunity to enjoy the flavours, we like to chew the next bite to experience more of the texture - is it smooth, are there any grains to it, some chocolate bars have a cold sensation to taste. Then enjoy as you please. 

Note. This is only a guide to how we like to experience a new chocolate bar for the first time. We know many in the craft chocolate industry have their own ways and we love to hear about them. So, tell us, what's your tip on enjoying a new bar for the first time, or what do you enjoy most? 


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