hosting a chocolate tasting


Eating and tasting—there’s a difference between the two.

When it comes to chocolate, tasting is the experience. The way you notice the explosion of flavors when the chocolate begins to melt and the way it feels in your mouth as you begin to chew.

Chocolate is a complex food, with well over 600 flavor compounds. Much like wine, it is filled with a variety of flavors and aromas that add to the overall tasting experience. The best way to take in all the flavors is to let the chocolate slowly melt in your mouth before chewing it a few times. This will slowly release each of the flavor notes.

Tasting and calling out the flavors of chocolate is a very individual experience. In a given group, these experiences will vary from person to person.

When hosting a tasting party:

Taste chocolate in a progressive way, starting with the lowest cacao percentage and working your way up to higher percentages.

Break chocolate bars into pieces for smaller bites.

Always serve chocolate at room temperature. Never store it in the refrigerator—or the freezer.

Encourage guests to taste and savor the experience. It should be relaxed and adventurous.

When it comes to describing flavors, here are a few ways to talk chocolate:

Aroma: The scent or smell associate with chocolate. Often referred to as “bouquet.”

Earthy or Fruity: Used to describe the flavor or body of the chocolate

Finish: The lasting flavor notes of chocolate or remaining flavors after it’s consumed.

Flavor Note: The taste, aroma and overall richness of the chocolate.

Mouth feel: The texture of the chocolate; it should be smooth and velvety.