A chocolate tasting is a great way to end a meal, especially when you've got friends around. Its a perfect post-dinner conversation piece. Spend some time comparing tasting notes and discussing bars together. You may be surprised at what you discover when the discussion gets going.
We make up “party packs” to order at The Chocolate Project and would be happy to select a range of bars to suit your tastes & budget. If you would prefer, we are available to lead you through a chocolate lesson and tasting. Contact us for details and pricing options.
Chocolate tasting basics
Chop or break up the bars into small pieces, about the size of your index fingernail. Put each bar on it's own plate, and set the wrapper beside it. You could always do the tasting “blind” and save the wrappers until the end – it is amazing the effect a pretty wrapper has on many people's perception of a bar.
Don't serve drinks! Yes, you are enjoying yourselves and the thought of a glass of wine or a beer with chocolate sounds so lovely but in practice they really mess up your ability to taste anything. Drink before hand. Drink afterwards. Taste the chocolate au naturel.
Don't serve any other food with the chocolate. As above, nothing will enhance your enjoyment of the bars and many things will impair your tasting abilities.
Once you are ready have each guest taste the same bar at the same time following this process:
Place a piece of chocolate on your tongue and press it up against the roof of your mouth.
Slowly move it around and let your body heat gently melt the chocolate. No chewing allowed!
Breathe normally as the bar melts and concentrate on what sensations you are feeling and the taste of the chocolate as it flows over your palate. Does it feel smooth or slightly grainy? Does it seem sweet, astringent or balanced? Can you taste elements of fruit, herbs, berries, spices, toast, earth, tobacco, vanilla, coffee....etc. etc.
After a minute or two the chocolate should be mostly dissolved. Note any residual flavours and textures, plus your overall enjoyment of the bar.
You could have guests attach a number score to each bar and write tasting notes if they'd like.
Repeat this process with each successive bar, discussing them freely as you go. Hopefully you have enough chocolate left on your plates to repeat the tasting – it is often more revealing to taste a bar a second time, after you've gone through the line-up once.
When selecting chocolate for a tasting we recommend 4 to 6 different bars, and one bar will usually serve 8 people, leaving enough for a second taste. Make sure the bars have similar sugar levels (that's what the % number on the front tells you) and either taste all dark, all milk or all flavoured, but don't mix and match.
Here's a fun suggested tasting line-up containing bars that are currently stocked at The Chocolate Project:
- Askinosie: Mababu Village – Tanzania – 70% (cacao species: Trinitario)
- Ritual: "Camino Verde" Balao – Ecuador – 75% (cacao species: Arriba Nacional)
- Domori: Puertofino – Venezuela – 70% (cacao species: Ocumare 67 [Criollo])
- Dandelion: Ambajna – Madagascar – 70% (cacao species: Trinitario (90%) with some Criollo)
- Akesson's: Brazil – Fazenda Sempre Firme – 75% (cacao species: Parasinho [Forestero])