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Proper 'mouth conditions' for tasting of chocolate
January 24, 2005
6:59 pm
JasonBunting
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Forgive the strange subject line, not sure how to put this - what are the best conditions for tasting chocolate, if there are such, for your mouth? In other words, when is the mouth (tongue, saliva, etc.) primed for proper chocolate tasting? For example, how soon after brushing one's teeth should one eat chocolate, how long after eating spicy food, etc. etc. etc. Kind of a random question, but I am clueless on this one. I know for sure that there are times that my mouth seems to be in a bad condition for tasting chocolate, and when I do eat it at those times, the taste seems muted or fouled.

Thanks

j a s o n   b u n t i n g

j a s o n b u n t i n g
January 25, 2005
5:36 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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Ideally, your palate should be completely devoid of any flavor residue which might alter or interfere with flavor detection. If you do eat something, then I suggest waiting maybe an hour before eating chocolate. Rinse your mouth out with room temperature water, spit, and end with swallowing. I try to avoid cold water because cold dulls the taste buds. If you think or feel that your mouth is in no condition to be eating chocolate, i.e. in detecting the full flavor profile, then don't eat it for THAT PARTICULAR purpose. You can certainly eat it to snack on but not for flavor detection, as your results will be marred. I like to compare the same chocolate at the beginning of the day with its flavor at the end of the day, to see if bitterness, flavors, etc. have been somehow influenced by daily activities, foods, etc.

Also, make sure your chocolate is at room temperature and that you have allowed it to breathe for at least 15 minutes before consumption. I like to take out a certain quantity and break it into many pieces to achieve a greater surface area and to facilitate melting, which, as a result, maximizes flavor detection. Also, if you want to experience the full spectrum of flavors a chocolate has to offer, then eat at least 25g at once. The idea is to allow a long enough melt to release the full flavor profile of the chocolate. Some nuances are only brief in existence and may not be detectable with smaller pieces, so in order to taste them, larger pieces are necessary. I found this to be particularly true of Puro. There's this very brief but strong surge of bleu cheese that can only be detetced with at least half of the bar. Smaller pieces simply don't allow the flavor to emerge fully.

January 25, 2005
9:55 am
alex_h
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interesting question. i find an unorthodox approach can also suit your purpose.
since i usually can't wait for a clear tongue i've decided to see how other foods, etc. influence taste.
i think you can eat chocolate after eating pretty much anything, not the other way around though.
this may sound weird, but i often have my first bite after brushing my teeth. the peppermint actually enhances the flavors of the chocolate and seems to open the nose better.
teas are also a good start if you want to clear the tongue. i like a simple rooibos.
there are of course conditions that do not promote taste: having a cold is the most obvious.
i think as long as your taste buds can taste go for it.
i have made the mistake, however, of trying some nice chocolate while cooking and then tasting the meal. that way around can be pretty awful.

don't mix chocolates though either.

January 25, 2005
9:31 pm
JasonBunting
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Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it. Funny you should mention Puro, I actually told my wife that I sensed a strong bleu cheese flavor when I tried it (first time was months ago). I guess each person's nose and taste buds work together in such a way that some will perceive certain flavors as subtle nuances while others find them to be much stronger.

Yeah, I just had lunch and this Pralus is not tasting very good . . . I need to go brush or something. Thanks!

j a s o n   b u n t i n g

j a s o n b u n t i n g
January 26, 2005
11:19 am
Martin Christy
London, United Kingdom
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The professional approach is to try chocolate first thing in the morning, before anything else, especially brushing. This doesn't suit me at all!

Martin Christy
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http://www.seventypercent.com

Martin Christy Editor www.seventypercent.com
January 26, 2005
12:46 pm
Sebastian
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Speak for yourself 8-) My professional approach is to eat a steady stream of it throughout the day (i tell my wife all the time - i'm in shape - round is a perfectly valid shape!)

January 26, 2005
3:26 pm
JasonBunting
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quote:

Originally posted by martinc

The professional approach is to try chocolate first thing in the morning, before anything else, especially brushing. This doesn't suit me at all!


Well, I have done that, but my mouth doesn't feel like it is getting the full flavor that the chocolate has to offer, somewhat muted, and definitely nasty. Yuck!
:P

j a s o n   b u n t i n g

j a s o n b u n t i n g
January 27, 2005
12:54 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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Yeah, as Martin suggests, I sometimes eat chocolate first off in the morning right when my mouth is still fresh. But this can be tricky, though, because sometimes the chocolate can taste a bit more bitter which actually can overwhelm other flavors. I suggested in another thread that perhaps eating another bitter food, such coffee or spinach, before eating chocolate would acclimate your mouth to the bitterness. Anyway, the best time for tasting ANYTHING, actually, is midmorning or midaftermoon. Many of the professional food companies set up tasting panels at these times, because these are the least likely times people will have residual flavors in their mouths, and also hunger will be at a minimum due to satiety from either breakfast or lunch. When tasting anything, it's best to wait an hour before testing the certain food too; one hour is actually what's used in industry. Also, a good palate cleanser is an apple. Not only do apples wash away any prior flavors, but they don't possess any lingering aftertaste which would effect the next test.

Now, alex might have good suggestions for chocolate pairings, but not for flavor detection, as the methods and other flavors he described would simply interfere with the actual "true" chocolate flavor.

January 27, 2005
7:25 am
Polarbear
Tromsø, Norway
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Who has a fresh mouth in the morning????[:D]

***
My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
January 27, 2005
9:23 am
alex_h
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right, polar :-D
but i tried martin's suggestion this morning and it worked nicely: full-flavor puertofino!

monte, it works for me. but i said it was unorthodox.

January 28, 2005
5:37 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
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I know, alex, I wasn't saying it wasn't okay to do so, but rather I was pointing out its uneffectivensss in actual and "true" flavor detection of a chocolate [:p]

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