The first session! It will be hosted by Cocoa Coach from Chocolate Sommelier School. Following sessions, hosted by students, to complete a Sommelier Certification program.
Get Elevated at our First Slave-Free Online Chocolate-Tasting
Maybe you don't normally taste slave-free chocolate? Maybe you wouldn't even know? That's where our collaboration with Pono Cocoa comes in. They have certified that all of our hosts, curricula and chocolate-tastings are slave-free. This means certain chocolate is not allowed in. Reference the, "Slave-to-Bar Chocolate List", above and the Pono Cocoa List here, for acceptable brands. It's the largest and most up-to-date list we've found. Chocolate Sommelier School will not allow or accept tasting slave-to-bar chocolate. Slave-to-bar Chocolate will NOT be permitted at any of our events. It's banned. Want to join the boycott? The list of brands to boycott is in this article, from last month. Although, there are many other reasons to be slave-free, its because there is no other CERTIFIED slave-free chocolate academy. Ecolé Chocolate Academy is known for using chocolate from areas where exploitation is normal. The IICCT??? Its worse. Europeans, Americans and people from around the world who have passed level I and/or II certification have all practiced on slave chocolate for years and still, freakin'do. The Chocolate Sommelier School Certification is only available through tasting pono cocoa. We are grateful to work with their charity non-for-profit as its known they represent some pretty amazing slave-free chocolate companies and satisfy the need for a chocolate education institution that coaches sommeliers on how to identify when chocolate is exploitative, or not.
The Chocolate Sommelier School is available here, for more info on becoming a Certified Chocolate Sommelier. You would love being a host of one of our free online tastings, before launching your chocolate career. Students will have the school's full promotional support for their required free online chocolate-tasting.
What's beyond indulging in the rich and decadent flavors of chocolate can be an incredible analysis of our sensory experience. While traditional chocolate tastings may have taken place in person, the digital age has opened up a world of opportunities, allowing chocolate lovers to enjoy our first free online chocolate tasting experience from the comfort of their own homes. And, do you even know if your past chocolate-tastings were slave-free? Whether you taste chocolate all the time, go to cacao ceremonies or even make chocolate, this article will guide you through the process of elevating the analytical side of your experience. Tasters and hosts, unite, where all online Chocolate Sommeliers can gather and share. Why a school? Well, can you explain the difference between a chocolate-tasting and cacao ceremony?
For more on Pono Cocoa and the slave-free cocoa certification process or slave-free sticker labels, please visit at www.ponococoa.org. Yes thats right, there is now a label for slave-free cocoa and chocolate. This is how chocolate sommeliersidentify slave-free chocolate.
Understanding the Basics of Chocolate Tasting
Before diving into the world of chocolate tasting and of the chocolate sommelier, it's essential to understand the basics. The art of chocolate tasting involves engaging various senses, including sight, smell, touch, and taste. By carefully evaluating these aspects, against vasts amounts of other trials, you can truly appreciate the complexity and nuances of different chocolates. Eventually, your senses will coalesce into a solid, reportable and repeatable disciplined indulgence, ripe with fascination from other and swipe-stopping knowledge.
Chocolate-tasting can be seen as a form of mindfulness meditation, where in our case the Hawaiian chocolate sommeliers, focuses into on the present moment and fully immerses the self in the sensory experience. Into sensation. Take the time to observe the chocolate's appearance, noting its color, shine, and texture. Is it a rich, dark brown or a lighter shade? Does it have a glossy finish or a more matte appearance? Is the texture smooth or slightly rough? Have you seen the over 75 slides teaching chocolate sommeliers over on Instagram @chocolatesommelierschool The slide-lessons have taught hundreds, all the secret and most snobby secrets of even seasoned wine sommeliers. Tasting, takes time, accumulated cacao wisdom and even how to lead a sacred cacao ceremony. Its not necessary for sommeliers to learn both. Some do host both, but beginners can get lost. Thats when, Hawaiian chocolate, or Jamaican, or Indonesian, or Mexican, or Vietnamese, or where ever thats slave-free chocolate gets too confusing to navigate as beginners. It can happen to the best of us. Or when drinking chocolate is brought into the mix.
This author wrote "the Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Tasting Guide" to educate folks that are not in our chocolate tastings because we were not hosting any chocolate-tastings until now. Now its time to offer this priceless gem of a book to Chocolate Sommelier School students as well as our our you, or most precious chocolate-tasting guests. A copy is available for, the price of, the cheapest text book you will ever buy. Here.
Bring the chocolate close to your nose, inhaling deeply to capture its aroma. It can't be measured only externally though. Notice the different scents that waft through the air—hints of vanilla, caramel, or even rhizome notes. Each chocolate has its own unique aroma, and this step allows you to anticipate the flavors that are about to unfold internally. You can break it before smelling for more input into your nostrils. It is not required and you may even look amateur if your ratings over-favor external input only.
Next comes the exciting part—tasting the chocolate, although it works the same as smelling. Both rely on flavor dispersal. What's that? The same as color dispersal or aroma dispersal. Think about it... Tasting it will give a different flavor / aromatic / color dispersion. Take a small bite, allowing it to melt on your tongue. Pay attention to the flavors that unfold or disperse, ranging from fruity and nutty to floral and earthy. Is there a burst of sweetness followed by a subtle bitterness? Does the chocolate have a lingering aftertaste? The taste experience can be complex, with layers of flavors revealing themselves as the chocolate melts in your mouth. It's myriad of profiles of flavor can also be simple, one dimensional and will taste phenomenal. It's not complexity that makes something good!
Consider the texture of the chocolate as well—is it smooth and or slightly grainy? Does it melt easily or require a bit more effort? The texture can greatly affect the overall enjoyment of the chocolate, as a velvety smooth texture can enhance the flavors and create a more satisfying experience.
Different Types of Chocolates for Tasting and Recommendations
When assembling your selection of chocolates for the tasting, it's important to choose a variety of types and flavors. Include milk, dark, and white chocolates, each with different percentages of cocoa content. Milk chocolate tends to be sweeter and creamier, while dark chocolate offers a more intense and slightly bitter flavor. White chocolate, on the other hand, is known for its rich and buttery taste. Try our Vegan White Chocolate for different taste -- it tastes like every dessert. Then get our 100% cacao for cacao ceremonies and mix them. You will have a 50% 100 gram plant based white chocolate and 100% cacao liqour. It stops being sacred and usable for ceremonies after sugar is added. Sugar makes different chocolate types on its own too. Our 72% is perhaps the best, because it is right in the middle. It has the perfect amount of sugar.
Additionally, explore chocolates infused with unique ingredients like sea salt, chili, or various fruits and nuts. These additions can add a surprising twist to the flavor profile, creating a delightful contrast to the sweetness of the chocolate. From the subtle heat of chili to the tangy sweetness of dried fruits, these infused chocolates offer a wide range of taste experiences. Hawaiian Chocolate w/ Hawaiian "Chili Peppah Watah"? Well now you are just getting locally Hawaii recipes in your local Hawaii / Hawaiian Chocolate. Oh, that bar exists too! But is it the hottest chocolate bar in the entire world?
Don't compare and contrast chocolate w/ inclusions and w/out inclussions. Only compare chocolate w/o inclusions to chocolate w/o inclusions, or the other way. Otherwise you won't get any useful data. Here is that Chili Peppah Watah Bar, linked again because its so amazing my nose is sweating just writing about it.
By including a diverse range of chocolates, you can compare and contrast their characteristics, allowing for a more comprehensive tasting experience. Take note of the differences in flavor intensity, sweetness, and texture among the various chocolates. This exploration will not only broaden your palate but also deepen your appreciation for the art of chocolate tasting.
Setting Up Your Online Chocolate Tasting Experience
Now that you understand the basics of chocolate tasting, it's time to set up your online chocolate tasting experience. Here are a few key steps to ensure a seamless and enjoyable event.
Choosing the Right Platform
How to Start
Selecting a suitable online platform, like Chocolate Sommelier School for your chocolate tasting event. Anyone can host from our platfrom! Want to host? Let us know! Platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet offer features that enable you to interact with your guests in real-time. Choose a platform that allows for video calls and screen sharing, ensuring that everyone can see and hear you clearly.
Once you have chosen the platform, take some time to familiarize yourself with its features. Explore the different options for video layouts, chat functions, and screen sharing capabilities. This will help you maximize the virtual experience for your guests and create a more engaging environment.
Consider setting up a test call with a friend or family member to ensure that your audio and video settings are optimized. This will help you troubleshoot any technical issues before the actual event, allowing for a smoother and more enjoyable chocolate tasting experience.
Gathering Your Chocolate Selection
Prior to the event, gather the chocolates you wish to taste and showcase them in an appealing arrangement. It all must be slave free. Consider using a tiered platter or individual serving plates to display the chocolates. Arrange them by flavor profile or intensity, creating a visually enticing spread for your online friends. For unique and contrasting Hawaiian chocolate, just check out our amazing shop!
"When guests get hungry the chocolate-tasting and chocolate-pairing is primarily over." - E. Swift
When selecting chocolates for your tasting, think about offering a variety of flavors and textures and even types of taste tests. Include dark for comparative tests, milk and white chocolates for discriminatory taste tests.We DO NOT recommend different fillings or toppings (inclusions). This will provide your guests with a diverse tasting experience and allow them to explore the nuances of each chocolate. Try and get plain chocolate with maximum 1 other ingredient for a common comparative tests.
For virtual tastings, take close-up photos or videos of each chocolate to share with your guests, enhancing their visual experience. You can also create a digital tasting menu or guide that includes information about each chocolate, such as its origin, cocoa percentage, and tasting notes. This will add an educational element to your event and allow your guests to learn more about the chocolates they are tasting. And we would love to see and share your publishable photos and videos of your hautes chocolaterie dégustations -- chocolate tastings!
In addition to the chocolates, consider providing some palate cleansers, such as water, plain crackers, or slices of apple for yourself. These can help refresh the taste buds between different chocolates and ensure that each flavor is experienced to its fullest. Its mandatory because of "smell blindness" and "smell blur."What are those concepts? Check out the Chocolate Sommelier Course for free here. It has all the info you need for not just a successful tasting but also for fulfillment of their certification program.
By taking the time to carefully curate your chocolate selection and present it in an appealing manner. Have you ever heard, "the eyes eat first"? You will elevate the overall tasting experience for your guests and create a memorable event if you just don't outshine the chocolate either!
How to Properly Taste Chocolate
Now that you have everything set up, it's time to dive into the technical tasting process. Here's how to properly taste chocolate to fully appreciate its flavors and textures. Want to use the School's "Universal Tasting Sheet"? Its made to dive into the technical tasting process. There are some instructions on the sheet, but you are allowed to shoot us some questions. Enjoy this tasting sheet by printing 1 for every guest. There are 4 spots for chocolate on the sheet because 5 can be beleaguering and 6 can lose folks. Everyone will be left wanting more. A second deeper, more in depth, chocolate-tasting. Especially the host. So download the sheet and use it to document all the technical details of the bars you test and for all your guests tasting.
Preparing Your Palate
Before sampling the chocolates, cleanse your palate by drinking water and avoiding strongly flavored foods or beverages all day. This will ensure that your taste buds are ready to fully experience the subtle nuances of the chocolates. Your events will have to be jokingly before breakfast w/o palatte cleansers otherwise!
When it comes to preparing your palate, it's important to note that temperature can also play a role in the tasting experience. Some chocolatiers recommend allowing the chocolate to come to room temperature before tasting, as this can enhance the flavors and aromas. Additionally, it's worth mentioning that the type of chocolate you choose can also impact the tasting process. Dark chocolate, for example, tends to have a more intense and complex flavor profile compared to milk chocolate. So, depending on your preferences, you may want to adjust your room temperature accordingly. Chocolate should melt at 96 degress farenheit inside the mouth.
The Tasting Process Explained
Take one chocolate at a time and follow the steps outlined during the previous section on the art. Observe the chocolate's appearance, inhale its aroma, and savor the flavors as they unfold on your tongue. Take notes to compare your impressions later of this, and other bars.
When observing the chocolate's appearance, pay attention to its color, shine, and texture. Is it smooth or grainy? Does it have any visible imperfections? These visual cues can provide insights into the quality and craftsmanship of the chocolate. Has it bloomed? Which kind of bloom?
As you inhale the chocolate's aroma, take your time to fully appreciate the complex scents that may be present. You might detect notes of fruit, nuts, or even spices. The aroma can give you a preview of the flavors that are about tantalize your sinuses.
Now, it's time for the most exciting part - being present with the flavors. Place a small piece of chocolate on your tongue and let it melt slowly. Pay attention to the different tastes that emerge - sweetness, bitterness, acidity, and any other unique flavors that may surprise you. There is an 80% chance they are in your aroma receptors. Allow the chocolate to coat your entire mouth, exploring every nook and cranny of your taste buds. It will further inform your nose.
Remember to cleanse your palate with some cleanser between each chocolate to ensure an unbiased tasting experience. Keep in mind that the order of tasting can also influence your perception, so consider starting with lighter / sweeter chocolates and gradually progressing to darker, more intense flavors.
It's important to note that everyone's palate is unique, and what one person may taste, another may not. So, don't be afraid to trust your own taste buds and embrace the personal journey of chocolate tasting. Share your experience Using a flavor wheel? Make sure to use it according to instructions. Some flavor wheels influence flavor perception. They do that by coloring the name of the flavor or aroma in the matching color of the food its based on. These colored wheels, help you to identify what your are experiencing, so a black and white colored wheel, will influence yor flavor perception the least. It is more advanced because as a sommelier, you cannot cheat by using color to identify what you are tasting. Our flavor wheel is in black and white so that additionally chocolate sommeliers can identify flavor precursors, the whole range of chocolatey flavors and of course pulp fermentation which cause all the fruity, herbal, tangy and sweet flavor notes. Download it for free right here!
It gets even more complicated when adding beverages that are not palate cleansers. Because, then you no longer have a chocolate-tasting! Now you have a chocolate-pairing. Flavor wheels and analysis becomes completely subject at this point as most have been hit palate fatigue and get smell blindness after smelling 4 different things. Lets not forget about hunger and snacking. Here is a mini tasting slip you can download for free that basically contains all the deatials you would need to know. When guests get hungry the chocolate-tasting and chocolate-pairing is primarily over. Make sure your guests come fed, or plan at light meal after. Adding snacks to your menu can become overwhelming and also taint the pallate of all your tasters (when they eat it). Chocolate - tastings are not for snacking or hours d'oeuvres. It may or may not be an appetizer depending on the guests unknown metabolism and diet. You won't leave a tasting feeling "satisfied" in your nutrition level. A cacao ceremony though??? Yes!
Enhancing Your Chocolate Tasting Experience
Pairing Chocolates with Beverages
To elevate your chocolate tasting experience, consider pairing chocolates with complementary (or non-complimentary) beverages and exploring unique chocolate flavors from Island Sharks Chocolate - 71$ Hawaiian Chocolate w/ Sea Salt and craft coffee, beer, or tea.
Exploring unique Chocolate Flavors
Don't shy away from trying chocolates with unexpected flavors such as lavender, matcha, vegan bacon, or even balsamic vinagers. This, this can surprise and delight you, offering an exciting twist to your chocolate tasting repetoire. Write it down!
"It's conscious euphoria" - E. Swift
Hosting Your Own Online Chocolate Tasting Event
Now that you're equipped with the knowledge and expertise, consider hosting your own online chocolate tasting event to share your passion with friends, family, or share it at a corporate team-building event and/or with fellow chocolate entrepreneurs. It's time. We will help promote you. You can host your event from all our platforms. Just enroll to become a Certified Chocolate Sommelier. and you can borrow our audience to launch your career. That's all our social media, websites and press releases. Rethinking signing up or want more course info? Check out the School page on this website.
Planning and Inviting Guests
Plan your event by selecting a date and time that works for you. Send out personalized invitations, providing details on the platform, the chocolate selection, and any additional materials or guidelines they may need. We will do the same. Yes even with our private email list.
Guiding Your Guests Through the Tasting Experience
During the event, guide your guests through the tasting process, encouraging them to share their observations and thoughts. Double check that they are not eating chocolate. Engage in discussions on the flavors, textures, and overall experience of each person. This interactive and communal approach will foster a sense of connection and enjoyment among participants. It doesn't even matter where you are where you are! It will be memorable and delectable experience for yourself, clients and your guests. Otherwise, you'll be into cacao ceremonies, which is the more mystical, sacred and spiritual side of cocoa and cacao. If you have read this far, you may like learning more about cacao in its ceremonial purpose. My experience in Ecuador doing a cacao ceremony can be read here. So, go ahead, immerse yourself in the world of chocolate tasting—it's an adventure beyond worthy of indulging in! It's beyond hedonism, its conscious euphoria.