- Cleanse the palate. Many flavors of good dark chocolate are subtle and will be lost or ruined when tasted against lingering flavors from a meal. Apples, citrus, and other light fruits can work well. Sparkling water is an excellent option. Fruit and sparkling water together are ideal. Cleanse before each new chocolate. Yes, this may mean your cleansing the palate multiple times if tasting multiple chocolates.
- Smell the chocolate. Smell again. Break a piece apart and smell the freshly exposed surface once more. This will prime your palate for the upcoming tasting. And it will zero in on the most subtle flavors that may be overpowered by others when tasted.
- Don’t taste cold chocolate. The bar should be at room temperature when you start. And it’s recommended to warm the chocolate in your fingers for a few moments before introducing to the mouth. Warming up the chocolate will help the flavors release and be perceived as you taste.
- Don’t rush. Although chewing 1-3 times can help accelerate things, this is the upper limit. Wait for the chocolate to melt. Massage the chocolate between your tongue and the roof of your mouth. Breathe in through your nose. Try to smell the chocolate while your tasting it. Slow down and focus on the flavors - especially how they change from start to middle to finish.
- Use a proper sample size. Too large, and you’ll be tempted to chew too much. Too small and you’ll miss flavors before it’s melted away. 5 - 15 grams is good window to target.
February 25, 2019