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April 29, 2004
after having read many of your reviews i have become curious: how did you develop your taste skill? is it just years of experience (hard work, etc.) or did you do something of the sort professionally in the past? such as wine tasting?
you know what i would find interesting? an interview with you on this site. or a bio. i know it has the danger of coming off as self-promotion, but nonetheless i think i might not be the only person interested. you seem so involved: researching, inquiring, interviewing, etc.
what do you think? is this in your plans?
July 31, 2006
Yes, years of very hard work eating chocolate! I’ve been a foodie for a while, but aside from greed for all things tasty (but vegetarian in my case) I have no particular qualification – just trying to make the best of an obsession! I still feel I have a lot to learn though, and in fact chocolate just doesn’t have the kind of experts around that wine has. This is all very new, and so is the language, so feel free to say whatever comes into your head, and to explore what’s out there for yourself – this really is cutting edge stuff …
We’re going to have a ‘contributors’ section on the site soon and no doubt my name and bio shall appear there … (There is a little about how things got started and who we are in the ‘About’ section of ‘Info’.)
Talking of contributors, we are looking for material, so if anyone thinks they have something worthwhile to say, even if it’s a personal story, get in touch and we’ll see if we can use it. Some kind of payment may be possible – it will probably be edible though!
Thanks for your kind remarks and enthusiasm. I do really feel the site has only just begun – we already have loads more ideas and content planned, and this year we hope will be a big year for chocolate in the UK and elsewhere, which we’ll be reporting in detail soon.
October 10, 2003
I agree with Alex it would have been interesting to read more about you and your “choco biography”. I have also got a question according to developing taste: I guess your vocabulary according to taste in chocolate has improved over years, but has it changed in some ways? Do you see any differing patterns between your early reviews and your current?
Not that anyone has asked me, but for me it took a while before I could start to ‘see’ the different flavors in a given piece of chocolate. Many of the people I know think I am a loon when I mention that I can taste hints of coffee or nuts or tobacco or what-have-you in a piece of chocolate, but it is true. But it was not always so. My first few times eating such chocolate were mainly shock and awe at the intense nature of the substance. But over time, I was able to differentiate between the flavors.
I am also a hot sauce and hot pepper aficionado, so this is something I have grappled with explaining before. Novice hot sauce eaters have a hard time getting past the intense heat of the habanero, for instance. They say that hot sauce “covers” the flavors in the food you put it on. Rubbish, I say. It is simply that they give too much attention to the heat, and that when they learn to see past it, they will find the other flavors.
I don’t know if that makes sense, but it is similar with chocolate – the dark, seemingly bitter taste distracts people from experiencing the more complex and subtle flavors. It is certainly a learned skill, and eating lots of chocolate seems to help . . .
j a s o n b u n t i n g
August 1, 2006
Conversely, the natural flavor components of chocolate can be so strong and pungent that they almost dominate the actual chocolate flavor itself. For example, some people find that Scharffen Berger is too fruity and punchy, and as a result, is distracting from the chocolate. Castelain is a good contrast; it’s not a complex chocolate at all, but it’s rich in chocolate flavor and doesn’t bombard you with flavor nuances that other bars tend to do. I think the key is to try all sorts of chocolate to acclimate your palate to the different types.
April 24, 2004
Well, I have just eaten a lot of choc, and inspired by martin’s reviews and the occasional reading of a wine recommendation in a business paper, learned to search for distinct tastes. I just taste, think about what the taste reminds me of – and write it down.
My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic…