Last month, we talked about the differences between Chocolate Makers and Chocolatiers. This month we will talk about Chocolate Sommeliers. What exactly is a chocolate sommelier? Well, a good Chocolate Taster, is someone who can be defined as a chocolate sommelier. They are able to recognize a wide range of aromas and flavors when tasting a dark chocolate. The cacao releases aromas which the mind connects to flavors and aromas that are already known. Tasting chocolate is an art and ritual. Made for an experience which involves all of the senses. It is important to taste and not only eat the chocolate. While on Maui, come visit Maui Chocolate Coffee Tours to have an authentic tasting experience! Keep reading on to discover more about the art of chocolate tasting.
How to taste chocolate
Like wine experts, professional chocolate makers and connoisseurs use a simple but systematic procedure to unlock all the nuances in a bite of chocolate. With a few tips and tricks, you can learn to taste chocolate like a pro! Slowing down, savoring, and focusing your attention on taste and texture is exactly how to do it. Therefore, you will discover all the benefits of tasting chocolate.
There is no “right, or wrong” way to taste chocolate. In our opinion, the best chocolate is the one you like the most. No two people perceive aroma or taste flavors exactly the same way. Each persons texture can differ from one palate to another. Your individual chocolate palate evolves and sharpens over time with experience. When tasting, look for, notice, and describe what pleases you in the chocolates you taste as well as what you find less appealing about a specific chocolate.
Tasting the chocolate
Use your eyes: The chocolate should be compact with uniform color and its surface homogenous, bright and flawless.
Smell: Concentrate on its aroma to discover the intensity and richness of aromatic notes.
Taste: Let the chocolate melt in the mouth slowly, without breaking or chewing it with your teeth. Take the time to appreciate its flavor and all the aromas you are able to recognize. In this way, just one small piece will be enough to give you a lasting and pleasant sensation.
How to preserve chocolate
Preservation of the chocolate is extremely important. Keep the chocolate away from direct light and sources of heat. Chocolates have a long shelf life, so you can shop early and they will still be good for the holidays. Months after the holidays have passed, you can still dig into those boxed chocolates!
Here’s some tips for chocolate preservation :
- The ideal temperature is between 16° and 18°centigrade with a relative humidity of less than 50%
- For best results, store boxed chocolates at a moderate room temperature
- Wrap tightly to keep the odors away
- Do not keep chocolate in the fridge or in a cupboard unless it is well sealed, otherwise it may become contaminated
- If the climate in your home is routinely above 70° Fahrenheit and humid, or if you can’t polish off an entire box of chocolates within a few months…your next best option is to refrigerate or freeze your boxed chocolates.
- How long do boxed chocolates last in the fridge or freezer? As a general rule, refrigerating chocolate can extend its shelf life by at least 25%, while freezing can prolong it by 50% or more. Place the original box in a heavy-duty plastic freezer bag, seal it tightly and then refrigerate for up to one year or freeze for up to 18 months for best quality. Thaw frozen chocolates in the refrigerator.
- How long does a box of chocolates last at room temperature? Stored under those moderate temperatures, most types of boxed chocolates will retain their quality for at least 6 to 9 months, even after they been opened.
Experience Maui Chocolate Coffee Tours
Maui Chocolate Coffee Tours is a local business offering tours at Kupa’a Farms, in Upcountry Maui. With our private tours, you will get an exclusive and educational experience. Laughing while tasting chocolate and coffee for the entire duration of the tour is how we do it! The tours include everything from the beginning of the chocolate on the cacao tree, all the way to being made into chocolate! The private group size is limited to 8 people. Smaller groups keep the experience more intimate since there is a hands-on chocolate making demonstration as part of the adventure. We explore the many flavors of chocolates that are single origin sourced from around the world coming from different latitudes. The tasting will include at least 2 chocolates from Hawaii. After your tour, you will fully understand how rare chocolates from Hawaii are, and especially from Maui.
We hope that you enjoy your sensational time tasting chocolate! Embrace the art of chocolate tasting, and delve into your favorite flavors. Don’t forget to book a tour with us at Maui Chocolate Coffee Tours to try our delicious Maui made chocolate!