To savour: to taste (good food or drink) and deepen your pleasure.
The moment has arrived, and you are ready to enjoy squares of fine craft chocolate.
Like so many of the good things in life, chocolate is best enjoyed by taking it slowly. However enticing it looks, resist the temptation to pop into your mouth and start chewing... No chewing allowed.
STEP 1 – LOOK AND OBSERVE
First impressions tell a lot and chocolate is no exception to the rule. The look of the chocolate will tell you about its condition and hint at what lies ahead...the taste. It can also give an indication of how masterful the maker was in moulding the chocolate and which cacao beans he used and from where.
The colour of chocolate covers the full spectrum of brown from light to dark with tones of white, cream, warm butterscotch, red and purple in between. Where is yours on the spectrum?
Shiny chocolate looks good, but it is no marker of quality. It might win a beauty contest, but not a taste award.
STEP 2 – SNAP BETWEEN YOUR FINGERS
Can you break your chocolate piece in two? Does it make a nice, clean snap? A good snap is an indicator of well-made chocolate but, again, it is not going to tell you anything about the taste.
We are now ready to determine whether your chocolate is remarkable and help you find ways to savour it best to deepen your enjoyment. Remember though taste is subjective and two different people can have two very different opinions as to what is enjoyable. The important thing is your approach to savouring.
STEP 3 – SMELL & PLACE IN THE MOUTH
The simple reason that your nose is above your mouth is so you can smell something and avoid putting it if the smell is terrible. With good chocolate, the first deep smell should compel us to take the next step and taste it. Once in the mouth – STOP! Remember what we said at the beginning? Avoid the temptation to chew. Fine chocolate is rich in cocoa butter that melts at body temperature so let it do just that. As it melts in your mouth, it should start to release taste and aromas. The experience of melting in our mouth (or 'mouthfeel' as it is known) can vary from an ultra smooth texture to slightly rough. What you don't want to encounter is a waxy or difficult melt; that's a sure sign something is wrong with the chocolate.
STEP 4 - TASTES ON THE TONGUE
Did you know that only about 20% of our 'experience' of food comes from the tongue? In western culinary culture, our taste buds are attuned to sweet, bitter, sour, umami and salty tastes. To determine whether chocolate is good, we are looking for some sweetness with a possible mix of the other tastes with salt the least likely.
STEP 5 – AROMA – WHERE YOU MEET FLAVOURS
Chewing chocolate doesn't give us or our brains the chance to inhale and exhale and register what we are experiencing. As the chocolate melts, the aromatic compounds and flavours get processed, and the real experience begins. Remarkable chocolate may mean that you can pick up notes of fruit, florals, earth, caramel, spice and even vegetable. These flavours come from the cacao bean and are further developed post-harvest and with the chocolate-making.
So a voyage of discovery begins into delicious and fascinating combinations of flavour that fine chocolate offers.
STEP 6 – FINALLY NOTE WHAT LINGERS ON YOUR PALETTE
We haven't used the word 'palette', but think of it as your overall sense of taste and flavour and combine that with length. With remarkable chocolate, the delicious taste and flavour should last on our palette after the chocolate has melted in your mouth.
Try our selection of chocolate bars and start to taste chocolate in a new way.