The four step tasting process
Before we get into the actual technique, it’s important to have words to describe the sensations and experiences we will have. (See GLOSSARY for an explanation of terms)
Flat | coarse | grainy | chalky | lumpy | powdery | gritty | smooth | creamy | thick | greasy | sticky | waxy
To neutralise any flavours already in your mouth, use a wedge of green apple or an unsalted cracker and a sip of water.
Use your Eyes
Use you Fingers
When you break a piece of moulded chocolate in your fingers you should hear and feel a distinctive snap, not a soft crumble. For enrobed chocolates, you will feel the snap as you bite into it. Rub your fingers together and notice how quickly the chocolate melts. Cold temperatures can inhibit the detection of flavours so rubbing between the fingers can coax the flavours.
Use your Nose
Now bring your fingers to your nose and cup one hand around your fingers in front of your nose to capture the full aroma as you breathe in. Using the list of terms above, decide which words best describe the various nuances of the aroma. There should be no off odours.
Use your Mouth
Place a small piece of chocolate on your tongue and allow it to melt slowly as it comes to body temperature. You can then use your tongue to spread the chocolate around the inside of your mouth. Enjoy the smooth velvety texture if the chocolate is high quality. (Poor quality will tend to be gritty). As the chocolate melts you may find a variety of flavours start to emerge. You may detect a hint of a flavour in the early stage and it may become more pronounced in the later stage. It really starts to ‘come through’ as you linger and allow the flavours to permeate. After swallowing there should not be a greasy or waxy residue left in your mouth. The flavour of some chocolates can remain for some time in the mouth after swallowing, and this is called a ‘long finish’.