Sometimes when I have a girls get together I also organize a chocolate tasting and it is usually a huge hit. I am not a big dark chocolate fan, I love milk chocolate, but for chocolate tasting you need dark chocolate. I have done a few chocolate tastings and here is what I learned: Do not choose anything greater than 80% cocoa and choose chocolates in the same % range. I usually choose chocolate around 60-70% cocoa. Pick around 10 different chocolates and put them in small bowls with a number and remember to put the same number on the original wrapper so you know what it what. Give everyone a piece of paper and pen and let folks start the tasting. Don’t forget to also have a trash bowl for chocolate folks do not like. Tell folks to rate their chocolate 1-10 and then collect everyone’s numbers and rate the different chocolates. I usually give the remainder chocolates away.
Here are a few items to tell folk on what to think about when you do a chocolate tasking:
Look at the Chocolate in bar form and scan for any air bubbles, streaks, or discoloration. You do not want any of those in or on your chocolate. You want to see a nice shine on the chocolates surface.
Smell the entire bar before breaking off a piece. Get the full aroma of the bar and try to pick out the distinct aroma of that particular bar. Many times you will be able to know what the bar will taste like by smelling it. You can also smell apart a bar filled with sugar and a high cacao content bar.
Listen to the snap of the chocolate as you break a piece off. Should be a nice clean loud snap.
Most important! The look, smell, and snap could all be perfect but if it doesn’t taste good then it is meaningless. Break a small piece of chocolate and put it on your tongue. Let the chocolate melt on your tongue and start to push it around between the roof of your mouth and all area’s of your tongue. This will allow you to taste all the flavors that particular chocolate has to offer. Take it nice and slow so you can really taste out any and every flavor that presents itself.
Chocolate’s texture can big an important part to some people and not as important to others. You can have a sandy, grainy, chalky, smooth, waxy, and even slimy texture. Smooth slick texture is usually preferred but you can like whatever you want.
If you want to get into this even deeper, here is a great Adobe Acrobat PDF that describes the testing experience in detail from Chloe Chocolate.
Let me know how it goes.