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The Power Of Chocolate

Mar 10, 2008
"If any man has drunk a little too deeply from the cup of physical pleasure; if he has spent too much time at his desk that should have been spent asleep; if his fine spirits have become temporarily dulled; if he finds the air too damp, the minutes too slow, and the atmosphere too heavy to withstand; if he is obsessed by a fixed idea which bars him from any freedom of thought: if he is any of these poor creatures, we say, let him be given a good pint of amber-flavoured chocolate....and marvels will be performed."

Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826)

Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin was a French Lawyer and politician who wrote, Physiologie du Gout, ou Meditations de Gastronomie Transcendante; ouvrage theorique, historique et a l'ordre du jour, dedie aux Gastronomes parisiens, par un Professeur, membre de plusieurs societes litteraires et savants or in short The Physiology of Taste. He stated "tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are".

He had a deep seated fascination with good food and was one of the most prominent commentators and a forerunner of the modern food critic. His opinions were highly regarded by those that read them and as a result his opinions are well respected. He is not the first or the last person to extol the virtue of chocolate but his love of chocolate comes with a certain level of credibility that is unmatched by most food critics. So how should we make the most of chocolate?

Appreciating chocolate

Like coffee and wine, chocolate can be enjoyed as a complete experience. There is an enormous variety of types of chocolate and a connoisseur can learn to distinguish between a wide variety of these chocolates. It is possible to attend chocolate tasting events and chocolate tasting classes where the taster is taught how to appreciate all types of chocolate to their full potential. It is said that being discriminating is one of the most important thing. Finding out which chocolate types that you favour is vital. So you should consider what to look at when tasting chocolate.

5 types of chocolate

According to experts there are 5 main types of chocolate which primarily differ as a result of the ratio of cocoa liquor in the chocolate. Chocolate that contains less than 10% cocoa liquor is referred to as Milk Chocolate (due to the high milk content).

Chocolate with 15 percent cocoa liquor is called sweet chocolate. Unsweetened chocolate and baking chocolate uses pure cocoa liquor that has been turned into a bar. Chocolate with 35 percent cocoa liquor is called semisweet or bittersweet chocolate. Differentiating between these types is the primary job for the chocolate taster next the chocolate taster will look to find a difference between the complex flavours found in chocolate.

Flavours

The flavour of chocolate is made up with a complex structure of different flavours. Good chocolate tasters can find their way through the complex layers of taste and localise the different flavours they encounter. This, as mentioned before, is very similar to the process that wine tasters and coffee tasters use.

Some of the flavours that you can find in chocolate are surprising. Whilst chill and cinnamon can often be tasted many types of chocolate also include floral flavours like jasmine and rose. Interestingly some chocolates include flavours such as mushroom and fresh grass! Finding these subtle flavours is an extremely rewarding aspect of chocolate tasting.
About the Author
Shaun Parker is an expert on chocolates for all occassions. For more information on promotional chocolates and branded chocolates visit the ChouChoute website.
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