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Friday, January 28, 2011

Some Key Words for Tasting Chocolate

Gratefully borrowed from Suite101.

Tasting chocolate is, after all, a lot like tasting wine or whiskey. As such, it has a vocabulary all its own. In chocolate’s case, the key words to remember are "appearance," "snap," "aroma," mouthfeel," and, of course, "taste."


Look for an even texture and a shiny gloss, with no discoloration, pitting or fat or sugar "bloom." Color is not an indication of quality, nor is it an absolute indication of either quality or cacao content. Light chocolates (light Porcelana, a truly fine bean) will be light, even at 85 percent cacao content and, like coffee, the more darkly the bean is roasted by the producer, the darker the finished chocolate will be, so even a very dark bar with a high percentage of cacao can be made from inferior cacao.


Professionals gauge the quality of chocolate by its "snap." That’s the clear, crisp sound made by breaking a piece off from its bar. Listen for a good, clean "snap" when you’re seeking an excellent product, says Kita.


The aromas of chocolate vary widely and different varieties of beans, grown in different parts of the world, have different aromas. Seek out your favorites.


Generally, good chocolate will liquefy in the mouth without being chewed, since cocoa butter melts at 97 degrees F and body temperature is 98.6 degrees F. Break off a piece, run your tongue over the surface and let it melt on its own for a bit.


Let the chocolate melt in your mouth, different tastes will reveal themselves as it works its way across your tongue and through your taste buds. Like good wine, there should be an initial taste, a mid-palate experience and, of course, a finish or aftertaste. Look for long and lingering.

Read more at Suite101: 
Food Trends: How to Taste Chocolate: ChocolateTasting has its own Vocabulary

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