How To Taste Chocolate
Fine dark chocolate, like fine red wine, should be approached methodically. First, the palate must be cleared; a tepid glass of water will usually suffice. This will allow one to taste subtleties that may otherwise have been masked. Next, break off a piece large enough to coat the entire mouth - about two sugar cubes worth will do – and always taste at room temperature as cold will dull taste senses.
When the chocolate is fractured it should snap away from the bar – indicating the quality of both the product and the manufacturing process. Also note the broken surface of the bar. It should have a very fine granularity while the bar itself should show color hints of brown and orange. Smell the chocolate to find any hidden aromas. Now let the chocolate reach body temperature in your mouth. It should spread smoothly and evenly and without a hint of graininess. Once you’ve enjoyed this bite, make a mental note as to how long the tastes linger.
Finally, you’ll note that many producers list the “% of cocoa” on the label, however high percentage products many times represent a high content of a poor quality cocoa. Buying dark chocolate by virtue of its cocoa content is tantamount to buying wine for its alcohol content. It’s really the taste that reflects the quality of the product. Always trust your palate.