Yesterday we got a sneak peek at how San Francisco's Dandelion makes their chocolate. Today co-founder and lead sourcer Greg D'Alesandre explains how to taste chocolate — not just Dandelion, but any chocolate, in order to fully realize the impact of flavor and texture. Follow those tasting instructions and you'll be one step closer to understanding the complexity and deliciousness of chocolate!
Interesting fact: before Dandelion tastings, Greg usually has a bite of a Hershey's chocolate to contrast what a mass-market candy bar tastes like versus something made by hand with beans grown by real farmers all over the word. Not a bad idea for the rest of us if you really want to go for contrast!
Greg D'Alesandre of Dandelion Chocolate on How to Taste Chocolate
- For tasting in general ensure your chocolate is at room temperature and you have a palate cleanser. Water crackers work pretty well, but water works in a pinch and it's what I usually use, although it too should be at room temperature.
- When eating chocolate you want to take 1 or 2 bites to break it up and then let it melt in your mouth and cover your tongue to get the most flavor out of it. (This is why room temperature helps; if the chocolate is too cold you'll just end up consuming all of it before it melts!)
- If you are conducting a taste test, use consistently sized pieces. The surface area-to-volume ratio strongly impacts the flavor so make sure you don't skew the results with a bunch of pieces in different sizes.
- The toughest thing is describing what you taste. When people are trained in tasting it becomes easier but putting a flavor into words is always a tricky job. Just give it your best go!