When we see chocolate, our first instinct is just to eat it and feel our mood instantly perk up. Usually, there’s no thought to it; you just enjoy it, feel it coat your tongue in sweet decadence, and feel the regret later on when you realize you gained a tiny bit more. (Just kidding on that last part… or maybe not.)
Because of this, I couldn’t help but be skeptical about the whole idea of Chocolate Tasting. My first thought: “Why would you need to understand the way chocolate tastes? Chocolate is chocolate—a treat simply to be indulged in.”
It’s only when I attended one that I truly understood why.
The opportunity to try out a Virtual Chocolate Tasting session came from a good friend and the local award-winning bean-to-bar chocolate brand Auro Chocolate. How it works is that they send you a package consisting of three of their Reserve chocolate bars—namely, Tipi, Paquibato, and Saloy—and small packs of cacao beans and cacao nibs.
Having readied my water and plain crackers on the side with my chocolate package, I went into class with excitement to learn and with even more excitement to eat.
It was interesting, to say the least. I learned that it was so much more than being able to tell the difference between each bar; it’s about appreciating the complex flavors attributed to the place where the cacao beans had come from.
We were instructed to take a small bite of each bar and allow it to melt on our tongues. The flavors danced in my mouth and flooded my senses with its richness, bitterness, fruitiness, and so much more. Admittedly, I struggled to put into words what I was getting (I was a beginner, after all). But I appreciated how we were specifically told that there are no wrong answers with the way we taste chocolate; what others are getting may not be the same with you, and your experience is just as valid as theirs no matter how far-off you feel it is.
And that’s what I liked most of all about the class. I could say whatever I want and as best as I can because the goal is, ultimately, to just enjoy the chocolate and all its nuances, from humble bean to delicious bar.
I wish I could share more about how much I’ve learned from this Virtual Tasting, but I believe it’s best that you try it out yourself.
Auro Chocolate holds its 60-minute guided introductory Chocolate Tasting Class every other Friday for the month of October, and weekly from November onwards. Find out more through this link! The class is only available for those residing in Metro Manila.