OK, so you know how to eat chocolate. We all do.
We’ve all been on the couch, mindlessly opening a chocolate bar, then breaking off or biting it, piece by piece, not even really registering the sweet goodness we’re cramming into our mouths. Two things: one, if it’s a candy bar from the store, chances are it’s not even real chocolate (but instead a glorious sugary concoction), and two, put simply, that is not how you’re supposed to sample chocolate. If you’re a true choco-fanatic, that is.
Thankfully, we got all the delicious dirt from Purdys Master Chocolate Connoisseur (yes, that’s the title on his business card), Peter Blanchet. He taught us how to savour chocolate, how to detect its purity, what to pair it with, and many, many other fascinating things. Forget wine snobs, now’s your chance to be a chocolate snob and wow your friends.
Chocolate is as complex as wine, and thus shouldn’t be hoovered down in nanoseconds. Would you do that with a prized bottle of Chablis? Here’s how you truly savour chocolate, according to Blanchet:
1. Hold it between your fingers. Take a piece of the chocolate you’re sampling and hold it between your thumb and index finger for a few seconds. Don’t press down, there’s no need. If it’s real, authentic chocolate, it will immediately start to melt from your body heat. If it doesn’t start melting even a little bit, then sorry to break it to you, but you’re about to eat something else.
2. Break it. Exquisite chocolate should make a distinct snapping noise when you break it in two. It forms a clean break, too, with no grit or jagged edge. Seriously, it’s like the side of a glacier it’s so smooth. This is kind of the equivalent to swishing your wine around in the glass and sniffing it.
3. Eat it. But don’t just shove it in your mouth and be done with it. Blanchet advises that you place it on your tongue and slowly chew, making sure to take little breaths through your mouth. By doing that, the air will flow on and around your tongue while you chew, and it’ll bring to light all the subtle flavours of whatever chocolate you’re eating. The first time we did this, we were amazed at how many different notes came through: fruity, sweet, rich and earthy, all in less than 10 seconds. It was like eating chocolate for the first time.
In terms of pairings, thankfully a lot of beverages go with chocolate, says Blanchet. Among them are wine (of course), scotch, coffee and tea. If you’re looking for a food companion, you can never go wrong with cheese.
What if you have some chocolate and you don’t know if it’s still good? Blanchet insists that it never really “goes bad” in the traditional sense, but it can definitely get old and lose a lot of its goodness. If the chocolate is unusually hard and dry, or has that icky white coating on it (called “blooming”), it’s probably best to throw it out. Gross.
Last but not least, as we’ve been led to believe, dark chocolate is an aphrodisiac. Of course, there’s no real scientific evidence to back this, but the Mayans, who discovered the magic of chocolate, believed it to be true. And you’re not one to argue with an ancient civilization, are you? At the very least, it’s one of the sexiest foods out there.
And you’ll be all the more sexy for knowing how to eat chocolate like a master chocolate connoisseur. Enjoy!