We know. Chocolate is so wonderful that sometimes you can’t help but snarf the nearest bar without savoring it.
But next time, slow down. And think about what you’re eating.
“Chocolate, like wine, has a beginning, middle and finish,” said Marisol Slater, owner of Cocova, a Dupont Circle chocolate shop.
In her tastings, Slater encourages people to try to describe all the different flavors that wash over their tongues as they slowly let the chocolate melt in their mouths. There is no wrong answer, she said. Descriptors often refer to fruit, coffee, wine and the amount of sweetness.
Colin Hartman, co-founder of chocolate maker Concept C with his wife, Sarah, said the use of such adjectives is “not our value proposition.” “Chocolate is chocolate,” his wife added.
Regardless of where you fall on the description spectrum, writer and chocolate educator Eagranie Yuh has a few tips for how to eat chocolate in her 2014 release, “The Chocolate Tasting Kit.”
Yuh says it’s important to taste chocolate in the proper order, starting with dark chocolates (lowest percentage cacao first) and then milk and white chocolates. Swirl some room-temperature water in your mouth in between tastes, and then take a bite of a neutral palate cleanser, such as soda crackers, pretzels or bread.
Yuh outlines five steps for tasting. The first is to look at the chocolate, examining its color and sheen. Next is smelling. Then listen as you break a piece in your front teeth — how does it snap? Now the fun part: As you taste, let the chocolate melt and try to make out its flavors and the way it feels on your tongue. Finally, think about your overall impressions.
Ready to do your own tasting? We rounded up a sampling of bars from local craft chocolate makers. We’ve grouped them into some rough categories for your consideration.
For milk chocolate lovers: Charm School Chocolate’s Coconut Milk Chocolate (49 percent cacao).
For dark chocolate fans who don’t like it too dark: Undone Chocolate’s Nourish (70 percent); Spagnvola’s 70 percent; Spagnvola’s 75 percent.
For dark chocolate fans who like it really dark: Potomac Chocolate’s 82 percent Upala, Costa Rica; Potomac Chocolate’s 70 percent Cuyagua, Venezuela.
For those who like a fruity chocolate: Charm School Chocolate’s 70 percent Dark Belize; Spagnvola’s 80 percent.
For those interested in a little extra adornment: Potomac Chocolate’s 70 percent Upala, Costa Rica, with cocoa nibs; Undone Chocolate’s Arouse (70 percent, with cinnamon, cardamom and chili).
Where can you find them?
Charm School Chocolate is available at Glen’s Garden Market in Dupont Circle, Sticky Fingers in Columbia Heights, Roots Market in Olney and other stores, as well as online at www.charmschoolchocolate.com.
Spagnvola is available at its boutiques in Gaithersburg and National Harbor, as well as online at spagnvola.com.
Undone Chocolate is available at Each Peach Market in Columbia Heights, Dawson’s Market in Rockville, Nicecream Factory in Arlington, Cocova and other stores, as well as online at www.undonechocolate.com.
Call ahead to check availability.