When it comes to challenging one’s palate, so often, wine is the only medium with which we work. In an effort to expand, hone, and build our tasting skills (ahem – purely professional, we assure you), the PSPR team gathered recently for an informal dark chocolate tasting. Bringing our incredible team around a few plates of rich chocolate was a fun, easy, and affordable way to challenge the old taste buds. Here’s how to host a tasting of your very own.
- Pick three chocolates with a relatively similar cocao percentage. We chose three from Trader Joe’s: The Colombian Dark Chocolate Lover’s Bar (85% cocao), Valhrona Le Noir Amer from France (71% cocao), and the generic dark chocolate imported from Belgium (72% cocao).
- Open the bars and break them into similarly-sized pieces on three different plates.
- Present the chocolates “blindly,” or without the wrappers anywhere nearby. This will force your guests to think objectively about what they’re tasting.
- Taste together through the chocolates. Usually a chocolate will taste different depending on what was tasted just before, so experiment with the order.
- Ask which chocolate guests liked best, as well as which they thought was priciest.
- Reveal! You will often be very surprised how your palate disregards price for its favorite.
For our chocolate tasting, some very interesting observations were made about the bars before us. For example, Linda noticed that one of the chocolates was debossed with the image of a flower, thus leading her to believe it might be more expensive. All of us noticed how fruity – almost wine-like – the Colombian bar was, particularly if tasted after the Belgian. Interestingly, that inexpensive, generic 72% Belgian bar was the favorite of three of our tasters. The most expensive – the Valhrona from France – was the least favorite for its simplicity and one-dimensional quality!
It just goes to show that price isn’t everything when it comes to quality or personal preference.