A Guide to Hosting a Memorable Chocolate Tasting

At Hill Country Chocolate our Premiere Wine & Chocolate Experience has become one of the most popular events at our factory.   By combining chocolate with wine tasting in our elevated tasting room we work to create a memorable and enjoyable event for our guests.  

But you can create a similar experience in your own home!

By sampling different styles of chocolate confections from around the world, as well as different types of confections from ganache to gianduja, you and your guests will learn more about the nuances between European and American chocolate. Here’s how you can put together a memorable chocolate tasting. 

Choose Your Chocolate 

The first step in hosting a memorable chocolate tasting is to choose your chocolates. You should select a variety of styles, flavors, and textures to ensure that everyone has something they like but also that they get to experience something new and also familiar. Make sure you offer at least one dark, one milk, and one white chocolate so that everyone can taste the difference between them. Also, consider adding some specialty chocolates such as ganache and gianduja.  These different kinds of chocolate confections create unique contrast for your taste buds which can be exciting!

When choosing chocolates for your tasting, it is important to select quality products from reputable sources. Look for brands that are known for their high-quality ingredients and craftsmanship. You may also want to buy local chocolates from small businesses or artisanal makers to support local artisans and businesses in your community.  When you are creating a unique tasting event you want guests to have a small quantity of a large variety - and they should be distinctive. 

Don't Forget About the Wine Tasting

We combine our chocolate tasting experience with wine tasting as well. By having a small amount of several different wines and chocolates, guests can see the effects that these two food and drink products have when consumed separately and together.  Often the mouthfeel is entirely different and magical on your senses!

Setting Up Your Tasting Room 

Once you have chosen your chocolates, it’s time to set up your tasting area. Make sure there is plenty of room for everyone to sample their chocolates without feeling cramped or uncomfortable. Provide each guest with a small plate, napkin, and spoon so that they can easily sample each piece without getting messy hands or making a mess on the table. We have a knife available because guests often want to share a bite with someone else. Additionally, make sure you provide plenty of water and other beverages so that guests can cleanse their palettes between tastings if necessary.  Have a small notepad by each slate for tasting notes. 

Tasting Tips & Techniques 

Finally, it’s time to taste the chocolates! Before you begin sampling each piece, explain how best to taste each type of chocolate properly. For example, start by smelling the chocolate before taking a bite—this will allow guests to appreciate all of the flavor components before even tasting it! Then take small bites rather than large ones so that guests can savor all of the flavors fully before moving on to another piece. 

Encourage conversation throughout the tasting by asking questions such as “What do you think this tastes like?” or “How does this compare with other types of cocoa-based desserts?” This will help engage everyone in discussion while providing insight into how people perceive different flavors in different ways. 

Tasting is about Story Telling 

Do some research before the event about the chocolates that you are tasting.  Where did they come from? Who made them? What techniques were used? Where were the ingredients sourced?  These are all components of a romance story that will lead your guests through the tasting and allow their mind to create their own stories. These anecdotes often help people remember and become more aware of the flavors on their tongue and mouth feel and create a more permanent taste memory.  

You can approach the wine tasting very similarly by having some background material on the wine, the winemaker, and possibly even some professional tasting notes.  One fun thing to do is to use the word forms from wine tasting reviews and compare them to the chocolates that you taste. 

Have fun!

A well-planned chocolate tasting is an excellent way to bring friends or family together over something delicious! 

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