Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Chocolate post:

It has been too long since the last chocolate post! Here are the instructions on how to taste chocolate correctly, compliments of WikiHow. Read, and be informed on this most important life skill!

How to Taste Dark Chocolate

The actual flavour compounds found in dark chocolate exceed that of red wine, and detecting all these notes can be an extremely fun and educational endeavor. The following will serve as a guideline so that you can extract the fullest flavor potential from dark chocolate.

1. Find a location free from background noise, such as television, music, a crying baby, road traffic noise or just talkative friends etc. Being able to concentrate as intently as possible will facilitate flavor detection.

2. Clear your palate. This means that your mouth should not contain residual flavors from a previous meal. Eat a wedge of apple or piece of bread if necessary. This is crucial in order to taste the subtleties of chocolate's complex flavor.

3. Make sure that the piece of chocolate is large enough to accommodate full evolution of the flavor profile. A piece too small may not allow you to detect every subtle nuance as the chocolate slowly melts. The important thing to remember is that flavor notes gradually evolve and unfold on the tongue rather than open up in one large package. So remember, don't think small here. 10g should be a minimum starting point.

4. Allow the chocolate to rest at room temperature before tasting. Why? Cold temperatures will hinder your ability to detect the flavor. Sometimes it is advised to even rub the chocolate briefly between your fingers to coax the flavor. This procedure is optional.

5. Look at the chocolate. The surface should be free of blemishes, such as white marks (called bloom). Observe the color and manufacturer's job at molding and tempering. Does the chocolate appear to have been crafted carefully or slovenly? The bar should have a radiant sheen. Chocolate comes in a multifarious brown rainbow with various tints, such as pinks, purples, reds, and oranges. What do you see?

6. Smell the chocolate. The aroma is an important component of flavor. Inhaling the fragrance will prime the tongue for the incoming chocolate. It also gives you a chance to pick up the various nuances of the aroma.

7. Break the piece in half. It should resonate with a resounding "SNAP!" and exhibit a fine gradient along the broken edge. This is quality stuff!

8. Place the chocolate on the tongue and allow it to arrive at body temperature. Let it melt. This step is crucial, for it allows the cocoa butter to distribute evenly in the mouth, which therefore mutes any astringencies or bitterness of the chocolate.

9. Observe the taste and texture. As the chocolate melts, concentrate on the flavors that are enveloping the tongue. Melting will release more volatile compounds for you to smell. Close your eyes, take notes, enjoy this moment of bliss, and bask in contentment. Revisit when the time comes.

10. Chew if you so desire. However, do not chew more than three times. After all, we're tasting and not eating!

11. Now the chocolate is nearing its finish. How has the flavor evolved? Is the chocolate bitter? Heavy? Light? Was the texture smooth or grainy? Do any changes in texture and flavor occur? Take note of how the chocolate leaves the palate. Is there a strong reminder lingering in your mouth, or does it quickly vanish?

Mmmmmmm..... *happy sigh*

Important life skill. Yes, indeed....


natural attrill said...

I am going to have to eat a piece of chocolate now, supposed to be working, but off to the kitchen for a quick square of dark choc!

annulla said...

Thanks for the tutorial. I'll have to put it in to practice soon. Fortunately, I live within walking distance of a chocolate factory.

Soozcat said...

Mmmmmmbliss. Although I do find some of those "varietal chocolates" at Trader Joe's to be a pretentious hoot--the tasting notes printed up on the back of the bar really do look like they were written up by a wine critic.

Every time I think about really tasting chocolate, I think about that passage early on in the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where he takes the very tiniest little nibble of his birthday chocolate bar, just enough to let the sweet taste spread out over his tongue.

One Crabapple said...

ahhhhhhhhhhh ! You're KILLING ME

(great post!)

Now where's m' chocolate....any chocolate..chocolate crumbs...I am not proud....

Naturegirl said...

OMG this was the most choc-olat-eeey delicious sensuous post!!I could smell it, feel it,taste it,....oh my cocolate heart be still!!!!!
Man I have never been this close to my computer screen ever!

weirdbunny said...

Oh I so need to get to the shop and buy some chocolate. Coffee flavoured is best. Yummy.

tlc illustration said...

Yes - evil, I know... Tasting is lovely - but I also enjoy the eating part as well. :-)

Anulla, thanks for visiting - I think I would be in deep trouble living in such proximity to that particular factory.

Tongue in Cheek Antiques said...

oh no no...I popped it in my mouth and poof it was gooooonnnnnne! So I will have to try again...could you pass the chocolates to me please?!