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Chocolate Tasting Guide

Here is a tasting guide to help you recognize and identify the many tastes, textures and forms you’ll find when eating Belgian chocolate. The first part addresses tasting chocolate with the five senses. The second part lists the categories and characteristics used in the making and designing of chocolates. And the third part identifies the many flavors and aromas found in Belgian chocolates.

Tasting with the Five Senses

LOOKLook at the chocolate.  Identify the type of chocolate by its color.  Notice its coating and decorations.  Observe its sheen.   A well-tempered chocolate should be bright and shiny.FEEL

What does the chocolate feel like: smooth or rough? soft or hard? dry or oily?

LISTEN

Good chocolate should make a sharp snapping sound when broken.

SMELL

Smell the chocolate.  Soak up its aroma.  Since taste is 90% smell, you begin the tasting experience with your first whiff of the chocolate.  A fine chocolate should have a rich and deep aroma.  Cheap chocolate will smell of sugar and vanilla.

TASTE

Begin by biting off a piece of the chocolate.  What do you taste first?  Take a second bite and identify the flavors as they progress.  What is the texture associated with the flavors?

 


 

Categories and Characteristics of Belgian Chocolate

Chocolate Coating Decorations
  • Dark
  • Molded
  • Decorated with chocolate icing
  • Milk
  • Dipped
  • Rolled in nuts
  • White
  • Rolling in chocolate shavings
Filling
  • Rolled in chocolate power
Styles
  • Praliné
  • Rolled in coconut
  • Praline
  • Gianduja
  • Silkscreened
  • Truffle
  • Ganache
  • Hand painted mold
  • Manon
  • Marzipan
  • Hand painted  chocolate
  • Mendiants
  • Liqueur
  • Solid chocolate
  • Cherry
  • Cookie crumbs(biscuit in French)

 


 

Belgian Chocolate Flavor & Aroma Chart
Use this chart to articulate the flavors and aromas found in Belgian chocolates. The categories progress from left to right going from general to specific. For example, if you taste something fruity in the chocolate, try to distinguish the type of fruitiness. Is it berry or citrus?  If it’s berry, what kind of berry? Is it blueberry or strawberry?

 

 

FRUITY

berry
  • blueberry
TEA black tea
  • earl grey
  • strawberry
herbal tea
  • mint
  • black currant
  • jasmine
  • raspberry
FLOWERY floral
  • lavender
  • cranberry
  • rose
citrus
  • orange
  • jasmine
  • lemon
  • violet
  • lime
  • orange blossom
tree fruit
  • apple
NUTTY solid nut
  • almond
  • cherry
  • hazelnut
  • pear
  • walnut
tropical fruit
  • passion fruit
  • pistachio
  • banana
  • pecan
  • pineapple
flavoring
  • almond
  • kiwi
  • hazelnut
dried
  • raisin
  • walnut
  • cranberry
  • pistachio
SPICY fragrant
  • cinnamon
  • pecan
  • clove
COFFEE flavoring
  • expresso
  • nutmeg
  • café au lait
  • cardamom
  • mocha
  • speculoos
bean
  • dark
  • vanilla
CARAMELIZED caramel
  • caramel
  • licorice/anise
  • butterscotch
  • ginger
  • maple
hot
  • black pepper
honey
  • honey
  • cayenne pepper
DAIRY cream
  • cream
  • wasabi
  • butter

 


 

Resources

Chocolate’s Flavor Notes
An examination of the 1500 flavor components in chocolate divided into 4 categories: Identifying the flavor notes (presented with a user-friendly flavor wheel), the impact of geography on flavor (regional flavor distinctions), How flavor is added, and describing the tasting experience.

CocoBon Chocolatier – Chocolate and Wine Tasting Wheel

Since we’re on the subject of chocolate and wine tasting, CocoBon Chocolatier has a product for wine and chocolate pairing their call “Coco du Vin.” They’ve developed a chocolate and wine tasting wheel for this product that is available online. The idea behind using this wheel is to find flavors in both wine and chocolate and see how pairing the two enhances the flavors.

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