The RICHART School of Tasting

6. The RICHART School of Tasting

Chocolate tasting skills will allow you to truly savor gourmet chocolate. And learning to taste fine chocolate and appreciate its distinctive personalities is a pleasure.

With wine or coffee, many people begin their discovery with sweeter versions before developing a taste for fine, dry wines or the delicious bite of an inky black Espresso. The same is true for chocolate.

As people's taste for chocolate is developed and refined, they can distinguish the subtle differences in the flavor of chocolate made with cocoa beans of various origins and intensities.

Some basic chocolate tasting information:
Chocolate should be at the appropriate temperature for tasting - somewhere between 66-76 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bitterness, acidity, sweetness, astringency and saltiness (depending on the filling) are the basic tastes inherent to chocolate. The cocoa should be slightly bitter, but without being acrid. A barely perceptible touch of acidity and slight sweetness help only to highlight other, more powerful flavors.

The intense aromas and perfumes of the chocolate unfold fairly on the tongue before providing a very distinct final note.

Aromas and flavors you may detect in chocolate include:

· In plain chocolate:
cocoa, pineapple, banana, passion fruit, vanilla, cinnamon or a blends of these.
· In filled chocolate:
All of the aromas of plain chocolate, coupled with the wonderful flavors of the filling - almond, hazelnut, pistachio, walnut, honey, and fresh fruits. Some fillings even have a hint of saltiness, which highlights the other flavors even more intensely.

In regards to texture: there should be absolutely no noticeable "grain" on the tongue when you are chocolate tasting. This is why at RICHART, the ingredients are ground and blended to an imperceptible fineness of between 12 and 20 microns.

Plain/Dark Chocolate Tasting Technique:
To really taste the base and primary flavor notes, wait a few seconds after you place a piece of chocolate into your mouth.

To release the secondary flavors, expand the chocolate's surface area by chewing five to ten times.

Let the chocolate melt slowly by pushing it gently against the roof of your mouth. Note of the flavor, the texture and the way the chocolate lingers on the tongue.

Plain/Dark Chocolate Tasting Technique:
Place the chocolate in your mouth and let it melt for a few seconds to release the base and primary flavor notes of the exterior chocolate.

Then chew 3-5 times to blend the filling and the chocolate coating. New flavors continue to appear as the two melt in your mouth.

Finally, note how long the flavor lingers on the tongue.

chocolat mon amour by michel richartWant to know more? Michel RICHART's 'Chocolat Mon Amour' is your complete guide to the world of chocolate.

Order it now