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Art, Science, History and Romance of Chocolate
 
Romance of the Sailor’s Valentine
The Story of Chocolate
Chocolate is Health Food
How to Taste Chocolate
How to Spot Good Quality Chocolate
History of Nantucket Chocolatier
How to Taste Chocolate

Much like a wine connoisseur, chocolate lovers consider appearance, smell and taste. True chocolate aficionados let the chocolate melt on their tongue and enjoy the various degrees of intensity and sensual feelings while it liquefies.

Appearance
Examine the chocolate. The surface should be unblemished and smooth with a silky sheen. The color can range from the ivory of white chocolate to the deep espresso-brown of dark chocolate. Notice, is it shiny or dull? What is its color and texture? Is it beginning to melt if you hold it between your fingers a few seconds? If it doesn't, it may contain added vegetable fat, which is most likely a trans fat that has been recently linked to Cororonary Heart Disease.

Aroma
Inhale the chocolate deeply and concentrate on its aroma. Identify the clean, milky fragrance of white and milk chocolate and the bittersweet aroma of dark chocolate. Breathe in the chocolate once more and allow the aroma to settle for a minute.

Taste it now
Slowly let a square melt in your mouth or take a small bite. Notice how the chocolate feels on the tongue. Quality chocolate should feel firm and have a "clean melt", with nothing sticky, waxy, or sandy to stick to the roof of the mouth.

High quality chocolate will melt away like butter. Does it melt nicely and smoothly, or does it leave a granular or "floury" feeling in your mouth? Granular residues may be the sign of too much sugar, which in turn may make you thirsty. Does it melt easily and change without much effort from solid to liquid without chewing it? If it doesn't, its too "dry." but the opposite, "fatty" will leave an unpleasant taste lingering in your mouth.

Tests
Eat the piece slowly and try to distinguish the different flavors of the chocolate. Chocolate has over 500 flavor components, more than twice the amount found in a strawberry or vanilla candy. The chocolate tasting should begin with subtle milk flavors, such as white and milk chocolate, before venturing to the intense flavor of dark chocolate.

The second step is to roll the chocolate around the tongue to make contact with its four zones. The tip of the tongue senses sweet, the sides sense salt and sour, and the back senses bitter. Experience how the taste changes as the chocolate melts away.

Reflect and Repeat
After a moment, reflect on the combination of taste, aroma, color and texture. Take a sip or two of water to clean your palate. Continue eating the next bite slowly and consciously until the last trace of aroma has disappeared.


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