Have you seen the movie Chocolat?
Blown in by the north wind, an iconoclastic single mother (Oscar nominee Juliette Binoche) and her young daughter move into a peaceful French village and open an uncommon chocolate shop during the height of Lent — directly across the street from a church. At first, the shop’s rich, sensuous desserts scandalize the town. But the villagers (including Judi Dench, Lena Olin and Johnny Depp) soon learn to savor the sweetness. – Netflix
It’s time to watch it again. Even if you gave up chocolate for Lent – remember that Lent is not observed on Sundays – I invite you to gather some friends to watch the movie and do a chocolate tasting together. It’s very much like a wine-tasting.
See and taste that the Lord is good. – Psalm 34:8
I found a website with ideas for hosting a chocolate tasting party, but you can just simple read on here and get the quick-read version. I planned a chocolate tasting at a dinner party for our preschool teachers recently, and this is how we did it:
- Platters or plates for chocolate (turn the chocolate pieces up-side down to keep the brand a secret)
- Bowls for berries and salty snacks
- 4 to 8 bars of chocolate – we had 8 for 30 people (see below for tips on selecting chocolates)
- a variety of fresh berries
- some saltines or pretzel sticks
- warm, not hot, green tea slightly sweetened with honey
- cups for tea (we used small plastic tumblers)
- labels indicating the type of chocolate (cocoa %, origin, etc.)
- pencils and a sensory evaluation form: Organoleptic Exploration of Chocolate
Then review the instructions with everyone at the table:
- Begin with a clean palate by taking a sip of warm green tea.
- Taste one chocolate variety at a time, exploring all sensory facets in order (see evaluation form) before proceeding to the next chocolate.
- Begin with a chocolate that has a low cocoa solids content and progress upward from there.
- Between each variety cleanse your palate by eating small amounts of fresh berries, dry salty snacks and drinking a few sips green tea.
- Keep notes on each variety tasted.
That’s it! Have fun and let me know about your chocolate tasting party…and which chocolate is your favorite!
Tips on selecting chocolate:
We had a variety of chocolates:
- Different brands: Aldi’s Premium, Trader Joe’s Organic, Scharffenberger, Valhrona Noir, Lindt and Dove.
- Different countries of origin: Africa, Madgagascar, South America, Ecuador, Venezuela, etc.
- Different cocoa solids content: 33%, 55%, 60%, 65%, 73%, 75%, 85%
- Different countries of manufacture: USA, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria