February 22, 2004
Just starting out on the road to discover fine chocolate and picked up a bar of Lindt 85% in Tesco's, but can't seem to find a review on your site. Call me a phillistine, but after consuming a square, I melted some more inside a warm croissant, and combined with fresh intense coffee, I would definitely recommend this sunday morning breakfast feast. But where to go next, and, more importantly, apart from the wow factor, what subtleties should I be looking for, and what recommendations does anyone have for a beginnner? lucy
That bar seems to be a higher percentage of their 70% bar, which neither are terrible, but not the best. I mainly taste a spicy molasses flavor, but nothing much more. Despite, I usually keep a bar of this on hand due to the high percentage. The only matching strength that I can find is Cluizel's 85% in the little two ounce bars. They're rather expensive, so those are only an occasional treat. ; ]
Just cruise through this site and you'll easily be able to pick out the bars that you'll want to try. Anymore, I buy any bar that I think has potential. Just look at the ingredients, that will tip you off on the quality. Only realy vanilla, please.
August 1, 2006
Just put the chocolate in your mouth and think of what it tastes like. All chocolate will taste different depending on cocoa content, brand, beans, countries, etc., but some flavor nuances are fairly consistent. For example, the Carenero Superior bean has a mild fruitiness to it that's not very assertive but quite mild and pleasant. Make notes and compare yours with others. As for a good chocolate to try: basically anything by Cluizel and Valrhona. They're also the easiest to acquire, especially since Valrhona is used quite a bit in baking.
September 7, 2003
I second the recommendations here, and would like to add Domori to the list. They're a bit more expensive than Cluizel and Valrhona, but are worth a try once you've familiarized yourself with the more affordable upper-tier chocolates. Domori's Blend No. 1 is exceptional, something not to be missed. Personal favorites are Cluizel's "Los Ancones" and Valrhona's "Ampamakia".
Other things to pay attention to:
Sheen. Does the chocolate look nice? Or does it have a white film on the outside? If it does, it may be past its shelf life.
Snap. Does the chocolate have a good snap when you break it? Do you see that the chocolate is solid, or is it crumbly or full of air pockets?
Aroma. Definately smell the chocolate before tasting it. Chocolate is much more aromatic when warm, but if you're eating a room temperature bar, try the edge you've just snapped.
Melt. Once you've put the chocolate in your mouth, does it melt well? Is it smooth, or can you feel an unpleasant graininess?
Flavor. Move the piece around on your tongue to pass it over the various taste centers. Is the flavor flat and uninteresting, or is it complex, pleasing, intriguing? Is it too astringent, or too burnt? Is it balanced? This is the most important part of the experience, and everyone's palate is different. So, see what you like. If a chocolate is sophisticated and matches your palate, you'll return to it often and still enjoy it.
Aftertaste: does the flavor linger and continue to taste good, or do you get an unpleasant aftertaste, like metal or burnt coffee?
Hope this helps. Martin may have a tasting guide like this already on this site, and if not, the websites for Domori or Valrhona might.
Best of luck,
Oh no! My Agustus!
February 22, 2004
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