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Tips to hosting a chocolate tasting for dessert

Posted Dec 17 2009 5:20am
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I’m not big on chocolate. I do like my occasional piece of dark chocolate, but I could easily live an entire year without eating chocolate and not miss it (in fact I have many times). Now, I’ve been eating a bit more chocolate these days because there are so many different dark chocolates available and you can now buy so many flavoured dark chocolates from European chocolate makers.

That said, I have to say that the idea of a chocolate tasting for dessert perks me right up.

It’s true that I’m a big believer in keeping dessert to what it is because I’m not always crazy about those low-fat desserts and I’ve yet to find many “healthy desserts” I crave. Dessert is dessert and it’s a treat that you should enjoy in moderation. Also, if you adhere to the idea of low-fat dessert than you have to keep in mind that in order to reduce the fat and keep the consistency another ingredient has to be added and it’s not always a better alternative to fat.

That said, the advantage of a chocolate tasting is that all the dark chocolate is actually good for your health!

Dark chocolate is one of the best antioxidants you can find and it’s one of the secrets French women have been keeping to themselves until recently when it comes to aging well.

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It’s true you can make a long list of desserts, but imagine putting together an elegant chocolate tasting and imaging pairing some of the chocolate with wine? Now that’s an evening your guests won’t be likely to forget anytime soon.

You cannot have a chocolate tasting without good quality chocolate. Don’t even think of buying cheap brands that contain loads of waxes and unpronounceable ingredients. You want to aim really high when you buy chocolate for a chocolate tasting and I personally think that Green & Black’s Organic chocolate is as celestial as it can be when it comes to chocolate. I have to admit that when it comes to dark chocolate I love Poulain from France, Cote D’Or from Belgium, Leonidas also from Belgium (I quite like their 55% dark chocolate with cocoa nibs) and Green & Black’s Organic from the U.K.

Now, I’d most likely keep my chocolate tasting to dark chocolate because it’s my favourite, but you might want to know that Green & Black’s Organic make superior milk AND white chocolate.

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>>> So what is a chocolate tasting party?

You must have heard or even hosted your own cheese and wine tasting party? A chocolate tasting party is the same idea, but instead of wine and cheese you select fine chocolate and you invite a few guests who would enjoy the experience of tasting new chocolates.

If you are hosting parties in the coming weeks, why not bypass the traditional dessert plate and opt for a chocolate tasting instead?

You can pair your fine chocolate with wines and really discover a whole new dimension to chocolate.

I found some really great tips from Green & Black’s Organic chocolate that should make your chocolate tasting a huge success:

>>> Tips to prepare the perfect chocolate tasting:

1. Ensure your chocolate is at room temperature.

2. Limit yourself to around six different chocolate varieties.

3. Allow roughly two squares per person. Any more will give you tasting fatigue.

4. Start with the lightest variety (hence, start with white chocolate if you are serving it) and finish with the darkest (dark 85% chocolate)

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>>> Tips to keep in mind while the chocolate tasting is happening (you might want to reprint this section on pretty coloured paper for your guests to read while they are enjoying their chocolate):

1. Observe the appearance of the chocolate as chocolates vary in color. Like wine, intensity of color does not necessarily indicate intensity of flavour.

2. Smell the chocolate. Take a small piece and let it melt between your thumb and forefinger. It is only then that you experience the aromas that we usually describe as flavours.

3. Taste the chocolate. Put the first piece in your mouth and pinch your nose. Pinching your nose lets your tongue and mouth truly experience the chocolate. The tastes your tongue can detect are salt, sweet, sour, bitter, savoury; and the sensations and textures your mouth can detect include astringency and the cooling effect of the cocoa butter.

4. Taste the chocolate. Put the first piece in your mouth and pinch your nose. Pinching your nose lets your tongue and mouth truly experience the chocolate. The tastes your tongue can detect are salt, sweet, sour, bitter, savoury; and the sensations and textures your mouth can detect include astringency and the cooling effect of the cocoa butter.

5. Release your nose. Continue to allow the chocolate to melt slowly on the tongue. Be aware of all the tastes, how the chocolate feels in your mouth, its texture (smooth, gritty, fatty) and how the aromas/flavours develop and change in the mouth/nose as time passes.

6. Give your guests water between samples to cleanse their palates.

Remember that we’re all unique, so your tasting experience will be uniquely your own.

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>>> Here’s a short video featuring the fare from the Green & Black’s Organic at the Women’s Show (The Women’s Show is a yearly event that showcases products that are of interest to women. I’ve been going for a few years now and bypass pretty much everything and head straight to the food section to see what’s new).

***Don’t forget to rate this video if you like it***

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