Senses used for TastingSight
Moulded and chocolate slabs should be smooth and shiny. This shows that the cocoa butter has been crystallised properly. Enrobed chocolates I.e. Fruit etc, should have a matt sheen. The chocolate is not of a good quality if it looks flat, dull or has a greasy appearance. Do not be swayed by the colour of the chocolate as many factors could influence this including the type of bean used, the added ingredients like milks etc
The noise a chocolate makes as it is broken is important to help distinguish it’s quality. This is easier to do if the chocolate is in slab form rather than a filled crafted chocolate. Good chocolate should break easily and neatly with a clean ‘snap’. This means that the balance between cocoa and butter is right. Dark chocolate breaks more easily as it contains no milk.
Smell is an important part of the tasting process. Smell accounts for over 70% of our taste – this is why you loose your sense of taste when you have a cold! The smell of chocolate should remind us of natural products such as woodlands and spices. Mass produced chocolate will smell of sugar and vanilla as the proportion of cocoa solids is not s high. The smell of chocolate should awaken our memory banks. It should evoke good memories for example when we are given chocolates at Easter, being a child at Christmas etc
It is important to refine your pallet to appreciate good chocolate with is full flavours and aromas. Good chocolate should melt easily on your tongue as cocoa butter melts at only 2 degrees lower than your mouth temperature. If the chocolate is gritty or greasy or required much chomping before it starts to break up in your mouth it implies that other fats other than pure cocoa butter have been used. You can appreciate good chocolate by understanding which taste buds are stimulated when you melt the chocolate in your mouth. The true taste of chocolate should always come through, even if the chocolates are filled with other flavours I.e. alcohol, fruit etc
Because of the cocoa butter, chocolates must be kept at a temperature of 19-25 degrees. A white filmy residue occurs when some of the cocoa butter in the chocolate separates from the cocoa solid. This usually happens when the chocolates become too warm and then are cooled. Bloomed chocolate is safe to eat but may taste slightly different as the cocoa butter has changed molecular structure.
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