Many social gatherings revolve around food and drinks. Specific options, such as chocolate, bring us closer together because it’s a beloved treat that comes in countless flavours. You can treat your taste buds to a variety of options ranging from sweet to salty to savoury by organizing a chocolate-tasting party. Keep reading this guide to learn how to properly host a chocolate-tasting party, so you can execute the perfect event.
Understanding the Types of Chocolate
Hosting a chocolate-tasting party can be a delightful and enriching experience. You’ll be well-equipped to guide your guests through a journey of flavour discovery by understanding the different types of chocolate.
Some of the most common options include:
- White Chocolate
- Milk Chocolate
- Dark Chocolate
- Ruby Chocolate
The key to a successful chocolate-tasting party lies in variety, so try to include as many types of chocolate as possible. Doing so will allow your guests to explore many flavours and find their new favourite!
White chocolate is perfect if you want to add something extra sweet to your chocolate options. Unlike other types of chocolate, this type of chocolate contains sugar, milk powder, and cocoa butter instead of cocoa solids. It is beige or light yellow in colour because it contains cocoa butter but no brown cocoa solids. You get a delicate sweet creamy flavour that pairs well with fruits, nuts, or even savoury snacks.
Milk chocolate is a classic choice loved by many, in fact, it’s the most popular type of chocolate in the world! It consists of milk powder, sugar, and cocoa mass, giving it a light brown colour and smooth sweet taste. Offering it at your chocolate-tasting party ensures at least one safe option that everyone attending will enjoy.
Dark chocolate has the highest percentage of cocoa solids and less sugar than white or milk chocolate, giving it that powerful, slightly bitter cocoa flavour. The percentage of cocoa in dark chocolate refers to the amount of cocoa solids versus the amount of sugar. Generally, the higher the percentage of cocoa the less sweet the chocolate will be.
Ruby chocolate is a relatively new addition to the chocolate family. Ruby offers a new taste experience—a creamy berry flavour with sweet and tart notes, a tension between fruitiness and smoothness. Ruby has an intense taste and a characteristic pinkish colour, both of which are naturally present in, and derived entirely from, the cocoa bean.
What’s amazing is that no colours or fruit flavours have been added, it’s all-natural chocolate!
Six Steps To Tasting Chocolate
Chocolate tasting typically involves six steps that allow you to fully appreciate and evaluate the chocolate’s flavours and characteristics. Here are the six steps of chocolate tasting:
- Look: Begin by observing the chocolate’s appearance. Note the chocolate’s colour and shine and any variations or patterns on its surface.
- Touch: Hold the chocolate between two fingers. Pay attention to how it feels in your hand. Feel for the finger sensitivity (soft or hard), melt-in-hand (slow or fast), and the hardness—or the amount of resistance you feel when bending or breaking the chocolate.
- Listen: Break a piece of chocolate in half and listen to the sound it makes. High-quality chocolate should produce a clean, sharp snap, indicating a well-tempered and properly crafted chocolate.
- Smell: Bring the chocolate close to your nose and inhale deeply. Take note of the aroma and try to identify any specific scents, such as fruity, nutty, floral, or spicy notes. Aroma plays a significant role in flavour perception.
- Taste: Place a small piece of chocolate on your tongue and allow it to melt slowly. Pay attention to the different flavours that emerge as the chocolate melts. Take note of any sweetness, bitterness, acidity, or other taste sensations you experience.
- Observe: Pay attention to the texture of the chocolate as it melts in your mouth. Note its smoothness, creaminess, or graininess. Also, pay attention to how the texture evolves throughout the tasting experience.
Aftertaste: Once the chocolate has fully melted, evaluate the lingering flavours and sensations that remain in your mouth. Note the length and quality of the aftertaste. High-quality chocolate will often have a pleasant and complex finish.
You can engage your senses, gain a deeper understanding of the flavours, textures, and nuances of the chocolate you’re tasting, and properly host a chocolate-tasting party by following these steps.
Bonus: Dipped Chocolate Products
You might consider including dipped chocolate treats in your tasting party in addition to the classic types of chocolate. These treats could include strawberries, pretzels, or nuts dipped in any of the above types of chocolate. Dipped chocolate foods add flavour and texture to your chocolate board while keeping the spread limited so as not to clutter the board or overwhelm your guests with too many choices.
Offer Perfect Pairings
A key tip to properly host a chocolate-tasting party is to offer perfect pairings for your chocolate choices. The right food enhances the chocolate’s flavours and helps guests fully appreciate its nuances.
Ideal Pairings for White Chocolate
With its creamy and sweet profile, white chocolate pairs beautifully with foods that can provide a contrasting taste. Fruits like strawberries, raspberries, and apricots highlight the creaminess of white chocolate without overpowering its delicate flavour. Almonds or hazelnuts also complement white chocolate’s sweetness by adding a bit of crunch and complexity to the tasting experience.
Not sure what to drink with your white chocolate? You should pair sweet with sweet. Serving Moscato, a sweeter white or dessert wine is a perfect option for alcoholic drinks. Alternatively, you could serve coffee to melt the white chocolate in your mouth and offset the sweetness. Earl Gray tea and white chocolate is also a delicious combination.
Ideal Pairings for Milk Chocolate
Milk chocolate’s smooth, creamy texture and sweet taste make it incredibly versatile for pairing. It goes well with almonds, peanuts, and walnuts, which add a crunchy texture that contrasts nicely with milk chocolate’s smoothness. Additionally, bananas, oranges, and pears enhance the sweetness of milk chocolate while adding a refreshing taste.
Some of the best drinks to enjoy with milk chocolate include coffee, chai tea, and milk-based beverages like hot chocolate. These options help balance milk chocolate’s sweetness and provide a pleasant contrast in flavour.
Ideal Pairings for Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate’s rich and intense flavour requires careful pairing to balance its bitterness. Fruits with tangy or tart flavours, like cherries, raspberries, or oranges, work wonderfully to cut through this chocolate’s bitterness. Similarly, nuts like almonds, pecans, or walnuts offer a contrasting texture and a bit of sweetness that can soften dark chocolate’s intense flavour.
Aim to serve beverages that complement dark chocolate’s flavours without overshadowing them. Coffee makes yet another appearance as a perfect drink pairing as it helps bring out those rich, chocolaty flavours. Consider other pairings, such as bold red wine and black tea, if you want to offer a variety of drinks.
Ideal Pairings for Ruby Chocolate
The unique fruity flavour of ruby chocolate offers exciting pairing possibilities. Tart fruits like raspberries, strawberries, or red currants can enhance the berry notes in ruby chocolate, providing a harmonious tasting experience. Nuts with a subtle flavour, like macadamias, or equally subtle seeds like cashews, can complement ruby chocolate without overshadowing its unique taste.
You could serve rose champagne, fruity beer, black tea, gin, or plum sake. Each option helps bring out the fruity and floral notes in ruby chocolate, making a delicious pairing.
Set Up an Aesthetic Spread
Arrange the chocolates on a beautiful platter or board, grouping them by type—white, milk, dark, ruby, and chocolate-dipped items. Then, make small labels with a notecard to place beside each plate so your guests know exactly which chocolate they’re eating.
Place additional snacks in ramekins near the chocolates they pair best with when organizing your board. These small dishes add a touch of elegance and encourage your guests to cleanse their palate between bites.
Send your guests home with a box of tasty chocolates so they can continue enjoying their treat after the party. Options such as holiday chocolate gifts provide you with the perfect kick-off for the new year. Plus, your guests will appreciate the sweet gesture and have a little reminder of your fantastic party.
Serve Quality Chocolate
Look for chocolatiers that provide detailed descriptions of their products when buying chocolate online, including the cocoa content and origin of the beans. Likewise, it’s best to serve couverture chocolate as it contains the highest-quality ingredients and offers a more refined taste experience. Thanks to its high cocoa butter content, couverture chocolate also has a beautiful glossy sheen that adds to the aesthetic appeal of your tasting spread.
Shop at Cococo
Hosting a chocolate-tasting party is an excellent way to explore new flavours, spend quality time with friends and family, and indulge in delicious treats. At Cococo, we pride ourselves on offering high-quality, ethically sourced chocolate to elevate your tasting experience. Check out our selection of premium, Rainforest Alliance Certified™ chocolates and plan your next chocolate-tasting party today!