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Chocolate Tasting Notes; by Paul A Young artisan chocolatier

MirabelleMirabelle Owl WhispererKensington.Posts: 1,020 The Mix Regular
Here are some awesome things about chocolate I never knew! It was written by London-based artisan chocolatier Paul A Young. His choccies are awfully expensive, but very, very yum! :yum:
Chocolate Tasting Notes
-Paul A Young-

A few things to bear in mind when tasting chocolate (not to mention the perfect excuse to dig in this Christmas or next Easter without appearing to be a complete glutton).

Cocoa beans
The three varieties of cocoa bean are:

Criollo – premium, expensive and the most sought after.
Trinitario – widely used, aromatic with robust flavour.
Foresero – used mostly by the big manufacturers and blended with other premium cocoa beans by smaller producers.

Visual / snap
Look closely at the chocolate. Is it black or a reddish brown colour? Good quality chocolates tend towards the reddish brown. This is a characteristic of the fine quality of the Criollo cocoa bean rather than the cheaper forestero beans which tend to be very bitter and consequently require more sugar to make them palatable.

There should be a glossy finish, no grainy appearance and the chocolate should make a clear snap! sound when broken.

Your sense of smell is key not just for aroma but it makes up a large part of your sense of taste. Aroma is a good indication of and guide to how chocolate will taste. The predominant aroma is of course chocolate or cocoa. While tasting and smelling try to pick out aromas of tobacco, fruits, warm spices, aromatic notes and even some cheese aromas.

The most important way to judge good from bad chocolate is to taste it. These guidelines will assist in training your palate to help you distinguish good from bad chocolate.

1. Allow the chocolate to melt on the tongue.
2. Use the tongue to coat the mouth fully when melted.
3. Breathe deeply while tasting – this will help the flavours develop.
4. Munch or chew the chocolate on a second tasting as this will release other individual aromas and flavours.

Look out for flavours such as toffee, butterscotch, caramel, liquorice,
coffee, fermented notes, bread crust, salt and even cheese flavours. All of these are identified with good quality chocolate.

The use of bad or low grade ingredients can result in burnt-tasting flavours. Vanillin (artificial vanilla) tastes metallic and sugary, and over sweetness can be the result of bad quality beans used in the manufacturing.

Mouth-feel and melt
The texture of chocolate is one of it's mysterious attractions. We love the warm, silky and sensuous feel. This is due its melting point of 93°F which is close to body temperature.

The texture should be smooth with an absence of graininess, stickiness and cloying feel. Smooth, silky, flowing and warm all adds to the experience of the best quality chocolate.

Other pointers to take into consideration

The length of time the flavour remains can also help you judge the quality. A flavour that lingers for as long as 30 to 40 minutes is a sure sign of the very best quality.

Take time to taste – think about the flavours, tastes and aromas and you will soon begin to identify the individual characteristics of chocolate.

Tasting conclusions
These are unique to you as we will all identify many of the approximately 300 different flavours and tastes present in chocolate.

'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

- Howard Gardner
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