How to taste chocolate
1. Look at the bar: check the wrapping to see where it comes from, what percentage cocoa you are eating, then check the chocolate itself. You can see if it is dark or light and get an idea of the milk content. White streaks and spots indicate blooming, where the chocolate has not been stored correctly and started melting. It should be shiny! It is easier to check the above if you place the chocolate on a white tablecloth or white paper.
2. Touch the chocolate, give it a rub between your fingers and see how it feels. Chocolate should be stored in a cool, dry space – ideally 16c.
3. With your eyes closed, crack of a piece of chocolate against one ear and listen: correctly-tempered chocolate will make a nice, crisp snapping sound because of high cocoa content. If you are tasting a few bars, start with the ones with the lowest cocoa content and work your way up.
4. Rub a small piece to help release the small and hold the chocolate in your cupped hands – does it smells of berries, smoke or what comes through? If you can smell nothing it might be stale. The higher the cocoa content, the longer it will take to melt.
5. Cleanse your palate with a few sips of water or plain bread – then taste and take in the texture, flavour and finish. Let it melt on your tongue and coat the inside of your mouth. The crystals in the chocolate will melt in the right order, leading to a better flavour experience. We all have around 10,000 unique taste buds grouped in different areas and you want them all to appreciate the chocolate!