Eating chocolate is both an art and a passion. It is important truly to appreciate the "food of the gods" and eat chocolate in moderation. And to truly appreciate chocolate in all its splendor, you must try its many different forms.
Begin by reading books on chocolate. You can never learn too much about it; make sure to get books with colorful photographs of chocolate. Look especially for books that discuss tasting chocolate, discussions on the various brands of chocolate and the history behind chocolate. All of this is essential background knowledge to truly appreciate eating chocolate.
2. Try milk chocolate varieties. See if these please your palate. Always seek the best quality milk chocolate varieties rather than the common supermarket and corner store bars and confectionery. Look especially for Swiss, Belgian, French, German, Argentinian and Tasmanian milk chocolates. Swiss milk chocolate is typically known for its ultra creaminess.
3. Try dark chocolate next. This ranges in intensity from around 45% through to 100%. Be careful not to try the dark chocolate at too high a level to begin with or you may not like it. Start at around 45 - 50% dark and work your way up. Most people do not like the 85 - 100% range at first, or maybe never, as it tends to be very bitter. 100% has no sugar content at all and is very harsh to the untrained palate. When tasting dark chocolate, allow it to melt in your mouth rather than chewing. This will make it less bitter and more tasty!
4. Try truffles. These should be hand-made, preferably by a chocolatier, a patissier or a baker who specializes in chocolate treats. The cream must be fresh. If it is not, the experience will be ruined. Return them and demand new ones - the chocolatier deserves to be made aware of any quality issues.
5. Try drinking chocolate. This is a delight not to be overlooked in the pursuit of enjoying chocolate. Purists may pooh-pooh drinking it but did you know that this is how chocolate was first appreciated by the Aztecs and then the Europeans many centuries ago? There are many different ways to enjoy hot chocolates or iced chocolates. What is important is to find high quality drinking chocolates. Beware drinking chocolates marketed at children or for mass cafeteria consumption; they are likely to be oversweet and sickly. Look for low fat and sugar content (as in, no added fats to pad out the powder and not too high a sugar ratio). True connoisseurs will look for powdered drinking chocolate that has no added milk fats, slight sugar and high cacao content or for the pure grated or broken high quality chocolate itself (added directly to warm milk).
6. Savor chocolate. Whether you chew, allow to melt in the mouth or drink your chocolate, enjoy it slowly and with enjoyment. Take out time to discern the notes in chocolate for yourself and to try and develop a tasting repertoire that suits you. Chocolate differs in taste and quality in the same way as wine, whiskey, cognac seafood and game meats do. Learn to appreciate the subtleties over time. And share with a friend - become experts together!
* The best kinds of chocolate are those from reputable chocolate companies. Look especially for chocolate estate brands; brands that pride themselves on harvest year, country of origin and estate name.
* Make sure to choose full fat milk for drinking chocolate. Reduced fat milk is not as creamy or heavenly and does less justice to the drink.
* Try a "submarine" if you want to watch the chocolate unfold in the glass. Heat the milk, add to the glass and then pop in a good quality chocolate bar. Use a teaspoon to help swirl it around. After it is fairly evenly distributed, start drinking. You will need to keep on stirring it during the time you drink it, as the chocolate that has sunk to the base of the glass needs to be encouraged to swirl around the milk. This is half the fun of the drink.
* Be careful not to begin with very dark chocolate or it is unlikely you will ever grow to appreciate eating chocolate.
* As with anything, enjoy in moderation. Although recent claims point to the health effects of darker chocolates, they still contain fat and should not be taking the place of fruit and vegetables in your well-balanced diet! Use your common sense and watch the waistline.
Things You'll Need
* Chocolate judiciously chosen
* A note book for keeping notes on favorite chocolates and stores you purchased the chocolates from (it is easy to forget if you have roamed far and wide finding different types).
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