This is Part 3 of a 4 part blog post.
Tasting chocolate for pleasure is a journey of discovery, a most enjoyable way to explore your own palate and preferences. No two people taste flavors or even experience textures in the same way; you will be amazed at the different responses you will find among a group of tasters.
Texture is enormously important to the chocolate experience. A smooth and creamy melt-in-your-mouth texture is so seductive, that many people are more influenced by texture than by flavor.
Begin by listening for the snap! It’s the first clue to texture. Snap is the feel and sound of a piece of chocolate when you first break it or bite into it. Snap is easier to appreciate in a thin bar than a thick chunk of chocolate. Snap is a function of the amount and quality of the cocoa butter in the chocolate, how finely ground the chocolate particles are, and how well the chocolate was tempered.
White and milk chocolate bars have a gentler snap than dark or semi-sweet chocolate because their milk and butter fat content make them naturally softer.
Experience the Melt
Mouth feel is another word for texture. After looking, smelling, and snapping, place the chocolate in your mouth. But, resist the urge to chew and eat. Instead, hold the chocolate against the roof of your mouth and pass your tongue over the bottom of it, noticing first how it melts and then how it feels. Does it melt readily and feel smooth and creamy, or greasy and slimy? Maybe it resists melting and seems hard or waxy? Does it feel grainy or gritty, powdery, harsh, or drying?
No two palates have the same perception of these textures…it is even possible for the same piece of chocolate to seem smooth and silky to one taster and dry and powdery to the next!
If the piece of chocolate has melted completely, take another piece so that you can now notice how the chocolate feels to chew. Is it gummy, sticky, cake-like, fudgy, fast-dissolving, etc.?