Love chocolate? Well, you're not alone, so to help you on your journey to chocolate bliss, why not invite your chocoholic friends over for a chocolate tasting party?
You don't need to be an expert to host a chocolate tasting party. It's easy — just round up your friends, and enjoy a great night of chocolate with these party tips.
Set the scene
For the best tasting experience, set up your tasting party in a quiet, relaxed area of your home. To prevent tainting the luscious aroma of the chocolate, keep the area as odour-free as possible by avoiding the use of candles and air fresheners.
Offer your guests up to six different chocolate samples during the tasting, as any more might be overwhelming and affect their ability to fully appreciate each selection.
Keep each sample small while still large enough that each person can break it and hear the chocolate "snap."
Each type of sample should be presented on its own plate or small platter. Place a note card nearby with the name of the chocolate on the plate, and make sure to keep the original wrap or packaging in case you need any further information.
Chocolate is the star of this party, so prior to the tasting, avoid serving any strong or spicy foods that can leave a lingering taste in the mouth.
Cleanse the palate before and during the tasting by sipping room-temperature water (drinking cold water keeps the chocolate from melting in the mouth) and by nibbling on small cubes of plain white bread. Be sure to do this before tasting each chocolate selection to allow the true flavour of the morsels to be revealed.
Chocolate should be served at room temperature so it melts effortlessly in the mouth.
Enjoy tasting the samples from light (such as milk chocolate) or the selection that has the lowest amount of cacao, progressively up to dark or the one with the highest percentage.
Encourage your guests to use all five senses while sampling each variety, and have everyone take notes about their impression of each chocolate. A few things to look for in a premium chocolate include a glossy and uniform appearance, a crisp "snap" when broken, a smooth texture and various aromas and flavour notes, such as coffee, spice and fruit.
While tasting, just let the chocolate slowly melt in the mouth to release its flavours.
To keep the party going after the initial tasting has finished, introduce a few foods and drinks that pair well with chocolate to the table. A plate of assorted cheeses; a bowlful of salty nuts; sweet, ripe berries; handfuls of dried fruit; dark roast coffee; port; and red wines all generally form a magical partnership with chocolate.
Have fun comparing the original nuances of flavour to the flavours discovered when chocolate is paired with complementary foods and beverages.