Friday, February 15, 2008

Post Valentine's Chocolate Tasting

Post-Valentine's Day, we all have chocolate lying around. Whether it is from your lover, your mother or.....yourself (the best kind!) you should know how to extract as much pleasure from its soft, silky darkness as possible.

Chef, baker and author Dorie Greenspan recently spoke on NPR's Splendid Table and shared the secrets to tasting the perfect piece of chocolate.

First, you need to look at the dark creamy surface, if it is shiny it has been well tempered .

Next, take the chocolate to your nose and inhale. What you smell is the odor of the chocolate. An odor is a smell you experience directly through your nose.

Now take the chocolate in your fingers and give it a good snap! A crisp noise is another sign of good tempering and fresh chocolate. It also means its a good temperature for tasting.

Now open you mouth and close your eyes, and you will get a great surprise....Use your tongue to push the chocolate to the top of your palate, and your whole mouth will fill with flavor.

As the chocolate melts, the aromas are released. Aromas are retro-nasal smells meaning they come from the back of the nose. First, you'll sense the volatile aromas- fruits and florals, then the warm, spicy, roasting notes and finally the heavy scents of toasted nut and woods.

Taste by now is exploding in your mouth, and whatever happened on Valentines night, you're in Pleasure City now! As the last chocolaty essence lingers on your tongue, notice a final bitter note ~ that's the flavor that leaves you craving more!

"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." Lucy, courtesy of Mr. Charles Schulz