Consuming fine chocolate is not just a simple indulgence but also a sensory experience. It lets you enjoy the varying tastes, textures, and aromas of fine chocolate. Chocolate or cacao offers distinctive flavor properties. Whether you are new to fine chocolate or a long-time fine chocolate consumer, this guide should help you understand the chocolate’s flavor profiles:
Unique Flavor Profiles
The best flavor profiles of chocolate or cacao come out because of the balance of astringency and bitterness as well as the presence of an enjoyable cocoa aroma. Also, this profile has to do with the chocolate’s delicate notes like floral, fruity, caramel, herbal, or spicy. Chocolate with the least desirable profile is one that shows processing or raw material defects like the use of ammonia, artificial vanillin, putrid and more. The best chocolate like Lamontagne Chocolate should have a unique mouthfeel. It should not be sticky, unpleasant, or waxy. It must feature creamy, smooth melting properties which let its flavor gradually process in the mouth.
What Impacts the Flavor?
There are a lot of factors which impact the flavor profile of fine chocolate such as processing, origin, the skill of the chocolatier, and variety. Cacao has three varieties: Trinitario (hybrid), Forastero (commodity), and Criollo (exceptional). But, it is essential to allow the chocolate and cacao to speak for themselves. They should be assessed based on a tasting sheet instead of their name.
In terms of the processing, the roasting will impact the aroma compounds and conching affects mouthfeel. As with coffee, learning more about cacao lets you realize the story behind it.
When Tasting Cacao
When it comes to tasting chocolate, choose grocery store chocolates you like and know well as your references and look for other chocolates to compare them with. Consider tasting along various lines such as comparing chocolates of the same percentage from various makers, compare dark milk or milk chocolates, comparing chocolates of the same origin from those with different origins, and more. The idea here is to sample and paying attention to what you are tasting. Consider how chocolate smells, its mouthfeel and the notes. Make sure you do the tasting in comfortable and quiet conditions to make sure your senses are not distracted. Before you taste the chocolate, check out the finish and color, smell the aromas, and listen to the snap. Taste the flavor of the chocolate and consider it feels in your mouth.