• Спецпроекты
  • Weather forecast
    • Exchange Rates
    • 427.29
    • 518
    • 5.92
  • SEND YOUR NEWS TO US WhatsApp +7 (777) 001 44 99
  1. Main
  2. Read

The arduous art of the chocolate taster

  • Vkontakte
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Одноклассники
  • Telegram
Новостью поделились: человек

Photo courtesy of pazweird.com Photo courtesy of pazweird.com

First study the colour, then the nose, the structure and taste: as for any good wine, tasting chocolate is both a treat and a serious art, requiring regular practice to fine-tune the senses.

And who better to offer a lesson in chocolate tasting than Pierre Herme, the French master pastry chef?

"You start by looking at the texture," he explained at a recent tasting organised in Paris by the "Chocolate Crunchers' Club" -- a 150-strong fellowship created three decades ago to celebrate a common passion for the cocoa bean.

"I rough it up a bit first -- crushing it to test its resistance," Herme said, pressing a blade onto various parts of the chocolate bonbon on his plate.

Chocolate. Photo courtesy of drpinna.com

Chocolate. Photo courtesy of drpinna.com

Then comes the time to taste, paying close heed to "intensity, acidity, the lightness of the texture, the finish" -- how the flavour lingers after each mouthful -- "and for flavoured chocolates the balance between the chosen aroma and the chocolate itself."

Without forgetting the most important of all: "pleasure."

Five times a year the club's members gather around some of France's top artisans to taste all manner of cocoa-based treats -- from truffle bars to mousses, biscuits, patisseries and ice creams.

The ritual is always the same: each taster needs a small knife, a glass of water and some bread to cleanse the palate.

"The knife is essential, especially for chocolate bonbons," explained Claude Lebey, the doyen of French food critics and one of the founders of the club, gathered for the occasion in a Paris mansion.

Chocolate Brownie. Photo courtesy of examiner.com

Chocolate Brownie. Photo courtesy of examiner.com

"You have to slice the sweets in two, to see the thickness of the coating. It should offer resistance, but should not be too thick either, or it stops you from tasting what is inside."

Lebey confesses to keeping chocolate stashed away in various corners of his apartment so he can indulge in a quick nibble at any moment.

"Hmm, the coffee in this one is dosed just right," he mused approvingly, sucking on a bonbon named "Brasilia", created by Jean-Paul Hevin -- a star Parisian chocolatier with his own stores in Japan and Hong Kong.

"It's a dark chocolate ganache, but I added a bit of milk to bring out the scent of the coffee," explained Hevin, who uses ground coffee from Colombia and Brazil -- rather than instant as is often the case.

The club's expert crunchers sample another bonbon, this one flavoured with Earl Grey tea.

Photo courtesy of lancastria.net

Photo courtesy of lancastria.net

"The bergamot could be a little more pronounced," reckoned one taster. "Yes -- but that's risky, bergamot will easily crush any other flavour," tempered another.

For Hevin, "getting the right dose between different flavours is particularly difficult, it takes months of work."

"Most often I will put the accent on the chocolate, above any other flavour."

But sometimes, on a smoked tea bonbon for instance, he does the opposite: "I am a big tea fan, so on this one I pulled out the stops so you can really taste it. I wanted something more powerful, more virile."


by Gersende Rambourg from AFP

Nobel prizewinner proposes a new city in KZ
New abnormal snowfalls expected in Kazakhstan
Huge glacier retreat triggered in 1940s
Hyperloop construction begins in Las Vegas
"Moonlight" to top Spirit Awards nominations
Oil prices fall due to investors uncertainty
New dwarf galaxy discovered around Milky Way
Kanat Islam becomes a top ten WBO boxer
World oil prices continue to rise
Kazakhstan expects warming - Kazhydromet
Merkel to seek fourth term as chancellor
Sale of Tintin drawings set to break records
US, EU stocks fall as markets focus on dollar
Pacific leaders urged to defend free trade
EU warns eight nations on budget deficit
Universiade-2017: Athletic Village is ready
Bob Dylan can't make Nobel ceremony
Messi will never leave Barca - club president
Google, Facebook take aim at 'fake' news
Aerosmith announces Europe 'farewell' tour
Putin, Trump to normalise US-Russia ties
At least 10 hurt in southern Turkey blast
6.2 quake hits western Japan

Firebase Cloud Messaging