When a craft chocolate maker has put in the time and effort to make bean-to-bar chocolate, you really want to get the most out of eating it. A mindful approach is the way forward, engaging all of your senses and taking your time over each stage.
Artisan chocolate can have very rich and complex flavours and going slowly and mindfully with your tasting will really help you to get the most out of your bar.
See below for our guide:
Have a good look at the bar before you start. The chocolate should be shiny and glossy. There should be no white streaks (known as 'bloom') on the surface of the bar, and usually very few air bubbles.
Touch the bar – break off a piece. It should make a nice ‘snap’. This shows that the chocolate has been well tempered.
Take some time to smell the chocolate. Does it smell woody, or of nuts, berries, flowers, citrus? What other smells do you notice? Give yourself the time to really take them in.
Taste the chocolate. Take it slowly. Place a piece in your mouth and let it melt. Don't be tempted to chew it! How does it feel? Is it creamy or grainy? Enjoy the texture in your mouth (known as 'mouthfeel').
Breathe in as the chocolate melts to engage your taste buds and your sense of smell again. What do you notice now? You may pick up earthy or spicy scents, or find that the chocolate is fruity or smoky. Again, take your time to really smell the chocolate, it may seem to be a different smell now that it is melting in your mouth.
Stay with this mindful attitude to notice the ‘finish’ of the chocolate, the taste that lingers in your mouth. You will find that good-quality artisan chocolate really lingers so you don't have to rush to eat the next piece!
7. Make sure you enjoy it!
This slow approach to tasting really suits Craft Bean-To-Bar chocolate, after all, the makers have taken a slower approach to get the bar just right, it would be a shame just to wolf it down without paying attention to its complexities and quality!