How to host a Valentine’s Day chocolate tasting party

27 Jan 2023


Love is in the air. Or is it the tempting aroma of cacao? Embrace romance with a Valentine’s Day chocolate tasting party

Chocolate and romance go hand in hand. Ancient Mesoamericans once saw cacao as an aphrodisiac. Nowadays, chocolate remains our trusty sidekick when it comes to showing signs of love. With its aroma, taste, and texture, it retains an allure like no other. While we cannot medically confirm it’ll get your loved one in the Valentine’s Day mood, we can confidently say it will put a smile on their face. If you want to make this February 14th extra special for your cacao-loving partner, why not host a Valentine’s Day chocolate tasting session?

Equally suited to a fun group activity with friends or as a double date, a chocolate tasting party is a great way to use all your senses to explore nuanced flavours and find a new appreciation for your favourite treats.

Wicker heart, chocolates, and roses

A Valentine’s Day chocolate tasting for couples

If you’ve been following our blogs, you’ll already have some idea as to how to host a chocolate tasting party. This activity also makes a wonderful Valentine’s Day date night.

Set the mood

Lights, candles, action (the chocolate-tasting kind, of course). Lighting is important. A cosy, warmly lit room is the most romantic way to light the room — with candles aplenty. Tealights and candlesticks are a must, whilst scented candles can lift the atmosphere of the room further.

As well as providing a lovely glow, low lighting can enhance your Valentine’s Day chocolate tasting by allowing you to engage your other senses more.

Cosy candle

Explore a range of cacao percentages

Of course, a Valentine’s Day chocolate tasting couldn’t really be called as such if you don’t dive into the multi-sensory gifts that cacao has to offer. By trying an array of cacao percentages — from smooth and mellow 40% Milk Chocolate to deeply nuanced 80 Dark Chocolate — you can explore the unique charm that each variety offers. If you’re feeling especially adventurous, you could even try our 100% Chocolate Batons. They offer a smokey, almost savoury flavour – a must for any cacao devotee.

On the other end of the scale, there’s our sumptuous white chocolate. We make ours with nothing less than 36% cacao butter for the creamiest finish.

If you’re wondering where to start, our 70% Dark Chocolate Batons are the perfect introduction to the deeply enveloping worlds of high-cacao chocolate. These smooth Batons offer a beautiful snap and startingly smooth mouthfeel.

It can be a nice idea to set your chocolates out in order of cacao percentage so you can make your way through the spectrum of flavours, aromas, and textures.

Use your senses

This is where creativity can flow. You may choose to hold a chocolate tasting full of cacao-infused facts to satiate their appetite for knowledge whilst they nibble on a square or two.

Or, you may opt for a multi-sensory approach. It is widely acknowledged that we eat with our eyes, being drawn to beautifully presented foods, but what happens when this is taken away?

Dining in the dark is a growing phenomenon, with psychologists such as Charles Spence from the University of Oxford suggesting that an obstructed vision could heighten other senses. This means you may be able to pay more attention to the scent of your chocolate as you lift it to your mouth. Is it fruity? Is there a nuttiness to its aroma? Next, embrace the undeniable snap as you break it between your teeth and see how the flavour intensifies

Try chocolate fondue

If you want to make your chocolate tasting an after-dinner experience, then a Chocolate Fondue Set is the perfect end to the evening. You could go for the classic strawberries and raspberries option, but we think a chocolate dipper is deserving of something a little more decadent.

Our Mini Dipping Adventure for Two offers up an enticing entourage of crisp cookies, melting marshmallows decadent gianduja and mini grissini. Paired alongside white and milk melting pots of cacao, this dessert demands a double dip.

Chocolate fondue

Enjoy alongside some bubbles

What could possibly be better than sampling all the complex notes of a Valentine’s Day chocolate selection? The clink of a champagne flute in the background, of course. Our caramels, pralines, truffles and batons pair beautifully with a bottle of a light and fruity Prosecco. Ours travels all the way from a boutique winery in the gorgeous Dolomite foothills, bursting with sunshine notes of a slow, tranquil European summer’s day.

A Valentine’s Day chocolate tasting party

Valentine’s Day can be a lovely time to celebrate friendship, too. So if you’re looking for a fun way to explore new chocolate treats with your favourite people, consider a tasting party.

Who to invite

Do you know a couple who share a similar penchant for cacao? Add a different spin on your typical double date by inviting them over for an evening of friends, fun, food and, of course, chocolate.

Alternatively, if Valentine’s Day is more about getting together with the friends you love, then try hosting a chocolate party for all your nearest and dearest. Perhaps you want to celebrate Galentine’s Day with your best girlfriends — chocolate tasting is an activity some of your friends may not have tried before.

If you’re planning on having a big get-together, then try floating the idea of having each guest bring their own favourite chocolate selection. This way, you can taste something entirely new. As an added bonus, you’ll get a sneaky insight into their best-loved chocolate flavours so that when their birthday comes round, you can fall back to a fail-safe birthday chocolate box brimming with all their favourites.

Choose a selection of chocolate varieties

This might sound a little obvious, but choosing a variety of chocolates to nibble on at your chocolate tasting makes a difference. We’re all creatures of habit, and it may be tempting to go for the same variety of Pralines or Truffles, but we promise you, branching out will add so much more excitement to your evening.

We’ve already discussed the merits of different cacao percentages. But you could also explore different genres and flavours — from Fruity delights to refreshing Mint Chocolate.

Have you ever snacked on carrot cake, lemon tart, cheesecake or Eton mess in chocolate form? Our Patisserie Chocolate takes inspiration from classic desserts and cakes, bringing fine French patisserie to high-cacao chocolate. These moreish mouthfuls are truly luxurious.

Two halves of a chocolate with a fudge filling

Prepare some palate cleansers

This step is often overlooked but oh-so-important. If you ever find yourself in a restaurant which boasts that slight je ne sais quoi, you might expect to find a palate cleanser served between courses. A cleanser is typically neutral in flavour, wiping the palate clean so that you can taste the complex flavours of your next course without any sneaky lingering flavours left from the previous course.

Lime sorbet, crackers, fruits, nuts, vegetables and herbs are typical flavour bases for a palette cleanser. This doesn’t mean you have to get your chef hat on in an effort to whizz up a spectacular cleanser of grapefruit and basil sorbet, dusted in nuts, adorned with grapes and served alongside a cucumber salad, however.

A simple herbal tea or a spoonful of your favourite shop-bought sorbet will do.

Why not make it a chocolate and wine tasting party?

We’ve found that chocolate and wine go delightfully together at a celebration. Whether you’re toasting to friendship or romantic love, our Vintage Red Wine is sure to complement the deep, bold flavours of your favourite dark chocolate.

However, you could explore a range of different wine types — from rich, fruity red to crisp white and delicately sweet rose.

Sip, nibble, and enjoy.

Two glasses of red wine

Sumptuous Valentine’s Day chocolate from Hotel Chocolat

However you spend your Valentine’s Day this year, bring an extra touch of romance with luxury chocolate – be it for an extravagant chocolate tasting session or a thoughtful gift. Explore our full collection

After all, finding the right Valentine’s Day gift shouldn’t be a stressful process. At Hotel Chocolat, we have a delightful selection of romantic chocolates to help get those hearts fluttering. Yes, our Valentine’s chocolate gifts are indulgent — but isn’t February 14th the perfect time to give in to temptation?