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The Layman's Guide To Tasting Chocolate

May 6, 2008
Let's face it we all appreciate chocolate. That is to say we all enjoy it (apart from that strange breed that don't). But appreciating chocolate goes well beyond saying 'mmm that was nice'. There is a real art form involved in tasting chocolate and the true connoisseurs spend hours refining their tastes. Chocolate can be appreciated in much the same way that fine wine is enjoyed and tasted and in a similar way to the way coffee can be tasted. So for those of you that want to refine your tastes and know what to look for when choosing your chocolate; here is the layman's guide to tasting chocolate.

Appreciating Chocolate

As already mentioned there are similarities in the ways in which you can taste chocolate in comparison to the ways in which coffee and wine are tasted. Many chocolate connoisseurs feel that being discriminating between the chocolates that you like and the types of chocolate that you don't. So to become a true chocolate lover you must firstly make chocolate a healthy part of your diet and accommodate it but you must also know what to look for when you are tasting chocolate. This will enhance your experience.

Chocolate Liquor

The main ingredient for chocolate is chocolate liquor. This liquor is a by product of the process of grinding cocoa beans. Once created the liquor can in turn be processed to produce cocoa butter and cocoa powder which are both also used as ingredients in the chocolate making process. The main skill in chocolate making is combining the correct amounts of each of these substances with the additional ingredients such as milk and sugar. Different variations of these core ingredients create different types of chocolate and different flavours.

Types of chocolate

There are five main types of chocolate which are created using different ratios of the core ingredients. The main factor that differentiates between the types of chocolate is the level of cocoa liquor in the chocolate. Milk chocolate contains a 10% cocoa liquor content, sweet chocolate 15%, semisweet chocolate contains 35% as does bittersweet. Unsweetened and baking chocolate is simply cocoa liquor that has been formed into a bar. White chocolate is made without adding cocoa liquor. White chocolate contains 20% cocoa butter and 14% of white chocolate is made up of milk products.

Flavours

There are over a thousand flavour components in chocolate. This means that there are an almost limitless range of flavour possibilities and as a result being able to recognise the differences could expand your enjoyment of chocolate. This is why chocolate can be appraised in a similar way to the way in which people appraise coffee and wine. There is a plethora of unexpected flavours that can be found in chocolate. Strong spicy flavours such as cinnamon, coconut, chilli and cinnamon are very often found in chocolate even though you might not ordinarily associate these flavours with chocolate.

There are some even more bizarre flavours that are found in chocolate such as mushrooms and fresh grass - perhaps this might put you off refining your tastes! Distinguishing between these flavours can add a new level of enjoyment to your consumption of chocolate and as a result many people are embarking on chocolate tasting courses.
About the Author
Shaun Parker has been involved with french chocolates for the last 5 years.
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