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How to Host an Online Chocolate Tasting, Where Ever You Are!

Updated: Oct 24, 2023


A fun chocolate-tasting online!
A Welcoming and Fun In-Person Chocolate Tasting

The first step in hosting a chocolate tasting is to choose the craft chocolate that you will be serving. There are many different types of chocolate to choose from, including dark chocolate, vegan milk chocolate, and even 100% cacao bars. And any of these can be from any country that grows cacao, Hawaii chocolate included. You may want to consider selecting a variety of bars from a variety of makers in a specific country, to give your guests a chance to try different flavors and textures. Some factors to consider when choosing your Hawaiian chocolate include the cocoa percentage, the region in which it was grown, and any additional ingredients or flavorings that have been added. If that information is not available on the packaging it is not suitable for taste testing. All of this author's chocolate is perfect as a choice for a chocolate-tasting (or chocolate pairing) Grab it here!

From this author's experience hosting chocolate tastings, when to host it, has become very important. Not just the time of day, but also the time of year matters when picking a day and time. Don't pick a date when folks commonly go out in public to celebrate. The pandemic lockdown (for example) was a great opportunity for virtual and remote chocolate tastings. The time has finally returned to allow in-person hosting so make sure to pick a popular time of year like Valentine's Day, Mother's Day or even the year-end Holidays. Different types of audiences will be available at different times of the year. You can book us for chocolate-tastings.

A chocolate tasting
A Beautiful View from a Hawaiian Chocolate Tasting

When your guests arrive, it's not yet time to start the tasting. Make sure to explain which type of taste test(s) that will be conducted first. Explain how to use the chocolate measurement instruments you provide, so they can perform the taste tests properly. For more about the several types of taste tests and how to perform them, check out the Bean to Bar Chocolate Tasting Guide. This brand new guide is packed with cacao and chocolate history, field research data, chocolate-making steps and even a how-to on cocoa fermentation. It explains academic sensory analysis methods used by professional chocolate tasters for decades. You don't need to go to the expensive sommelier courses, just spend some time with the Bean to Bar Chocolate Tasting Guide and you will learn the skills taught by international culinary academies. Its like a text book but delicious. Know your instruments, or tasting tools, and provide copies for everyone. There are many awesome tools choose from. Check out these free tasting tools below.

Flavor Wheels - These are typically in color and are almost always present at chocolate tastings. Guests arrive at beginner or any level of skill, so this serves everyone with a reference point for detecting flavors in chocolate. Colored wheels can influence aroma perception. So can music, perfume, candles and so much more. There is a lot to learn about hosting chocolate tastings but they will always have flavor wheels for people to reference flavors and aromas with. This wheel below is in black and white so that there is no color to distract or influence flavor perception. This one is free to download!Just save and download it!

A chocolate flavor wheel
A Hawaii Chocolate Flavor Wheel Free to Print, Download and Use.

Large Tasting Sheets - Click there for a free downloadable and printable large tasting sheet for you and your guests to use. Its got room for tasting 4 pieces of chocolate at once so there is no risk of palate fatigue with this sheet. There are some color, fun and time-based measuring tools on it too. Instructions are printed on it for swift understanding and wide reach. Familiarize yourself with it first, before the tasting or you could look completely unprepared.

A large tasting sheet.
A Larger Hawaii Chocolate Tasting Sheet For Guests Use

Mini Tasting Slips - These are great and allow for folks to taste and process a larger quantity of chocolate faster. Its also useful to aptly measure and log single pieces of chocolate by the same factors month after month avoiding palate fatigue. Its totally downloadable and printable and sharable. Get the one this author deigned here!!!

Mini chocolate tasting strips.
Quick, Easy and Efficient Mini Chocolate Tasting Slips. Great for Personal Use or for a Large Number of Guests

More tools may not be better! Just be sure to pick the tools you, as the host, are most versatile with. After all that, let the tasting begin.

The author hosting a chocolate tasting
The Author Hosting a Hawaii Chocolate Tasting in Paris, France

"Calibrating your palate (tasting) can be a lifelong process, and it is important to continually challenge and expand your taste preferences and knowledge." - E. Swift

a chocolate tasting vignette
The Future is not yet Written! There is Always Plenty of Craft Chocolate to Taste.
2 people blindfolding themselves
Never Actually Blindfold Your Guests or Choose Extremely-low Quality Bars like this.
  1. Choose the products you want to compare. Make sure to have enough of each product for all of your testers.

  2. Obscure the labels on the products, blind them, so the testers don't know which is which. You can do this by covering the labels with masking tape, or placing the products in identical containers.

  3. Set up a testing area with enough space for all of your tasters to sit comfortably. You may want to have a separate table for each product, or set up a buffet-style table with all of the products in separate bowls or glasses.

  4. Provide each person with a scorecard or questionnaire to fill out after tasting each product. This can include questions about flavor, texture, and overall preference.

  5. Have the guests taste the products one at a time, starting with a clean palate. You may want to provide water and crackers or bread to help cleanse the palate between pieces.

  6. Once all of the folks have tasted all of the products, tally up the scores and determine the overall winner.

  7. You may unblind the chocolate at this point and reveal the makers.

Did you know that each one of your guests will taste everything differently in the same way they see everything differently? Its something to consider when sharing vital, personal feedback or critiques.

Tasting Palate Calibration

There is a way to calibrate everyones palates. Calibrating your palate means training your taste buds to identify and distinguish different flavors and ingredients in the food and drink you consume. It is an important skill for chefs, sommeliers, and other food and beverage professionals to have, as it allows them to accurately create and replicate recipes, pair food and drink, and make informed recommendations to their customers. It is also useful for everyday eaters who want to better understand and appreciate the flavors of their meals.

There are several ways to calibrate your palate. One method is to taste and compare a range of ingredients and flavors, such as sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami, on their own and in combination. You can also try taste testing with your eyes closed to focus on the flavors and aromas, and try to identify the specific ingredients or flavor profiles in the food or drink. Another way is to get consensus on the flavor of each ingredient. This will show your guests that despite their differences, they can agree on flavors and tastes.

Calibrating your palate can be a lifelong process, and it is important to continually challenge and expand your taste preferences and knowledge. It can help you make more informed and satisfying food choices, and it can also enhance your enjoyment and appreciation of different people's perspectives.



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