Bean to bar chocolate is beautiful and makers of chocolate are the best lovers (of chocolate, of course). Once you’ve discovered the taste of bean to bar chocolate, you will know why such a bar costs more than your usual mainstream supermarket brand. Bean to bar chocolate is an artisan process, one that takes love and effort. This process stretches from the farming of the beans all the way to the makers of chocolate. Not mass produced without much care for the flavour profiles in the final product, bean to bar chocolate is one that starts with a dried bean (or even further back to when and where it is grown). Each bar produced isn’t just a bit of cacao and a whole lot of sugar. Each batch is reliant on the beans themselves, how they are grown, where they are sourced and the skill with which they are made. It is no wonder that how to taste chocolate and in particular, bean to bar chocolate, becomes quite an experience.
Kristin Lim taught me how to taste chocolate over a year ago and I think it’s a hobby that I will be taking up again this year. Happily, the chocolate scene in Singapore has grown as more and more people fall in love with these hand crafted, artisan bars of chocolate.
Where to find bean to bar chocolate
You’ll find bean to bar chocolate popping up in so many places now a days. From hip cafes and specialty shops, finding a bar is now no longer a hunt. My favourite sources are:
- Hello Chocolate – you’ll find a great selection from around the world here.
- Fossa Chocolate – also available from Avo & Co if you want to add it to your fruit and veggie order. They’re the ones who sent me my first bar of Fossa Chocolate – divine!
- Krakakoa – who go one step further. They are farmer to bar and provide training as well as education about sustainability and agricultural best practice for their farmers.
- Marou – whose gorgeous packaging and story we fell in love with when we talked to them in July 2016.
And now… how do you taste chocolate? Kristin’s guide is below.
1. Preparing your bar
Think of chocolate tasting as an opening up of flavour with a gradual application of heat. If chilled, let the bar sit at room temperature for a good ten to fifteen minutes. A colder bar melts in your mouth less readily, and releases fewer aromatic compounds.
2. Getting ready to taste
Break off a small piece of chocolate from the bar, and start by smelling it, cupping your hand over your nose if you like.
3. Savouring chocolate
Take a bite and let it melt on your mouth, pressing it against your palate to slowly intensify the flavours.
First, note the mouthfeel and texture of the chocolate. Is it coarse or smooth, slow or quick to melt?
Next, consider the flavours and aromas you experience as the chocolate melts and opens up. Does it taste sweet, salty, bitter, acidic, umami or astringent?
What are the flavour notes you pick up in the initial, middle and later stages? Chocolate could be characterised as floral, fruity, spicy, nutty, earthy or woody, just to name a few.
Finally, note the finish of the chocolate. Does it leave a lingering aroma on your palate, or a clean finish?
4. Always a second chance
Take another bite or two and repeat the process. You might find yourself discovering new notes the second or third time around.
Also, check out the results of my first ever chocolate tasting and stay tuned for more chocolate tastings to come! If you’re in the know, please do write in to email@example.com and recommend a bar for us to try.