If you thought you were eating chocolate the right way - well, you probably are… (since, let’s be honest, there’s no ‘bad’ way to eat chocolate).
However, there are apparently a few simple things you can do to take your chocolate experience to the next level. I had a chat to Alex Chan, super-smart food technologist and Director of Chocolates (what a job…) at Oh! Boo, who spilled the (cacao) beans on what to do.
Step 1: Relax
Find a calm, comfortable place to kick back, as this will help your tastebuds (and brain) appreciate the more complex flavours your chocolate of choice. I’m not saying you have to be perched on an Italian leather lounge with some Miles Davis vinyl lined up on the gramophone (although that probably wouldn’t hurt) – but just somewhere that gives you the ability to engage your senses, and “be one with the chocolate”.
It might sound a bit naff, but hey – you wouldn’t sip on your favourite whisky while running to get the bus, right?
Step 2. Take three bites
Don’t knock back each praline like it’s a shot of house vodka at your 18th birthday party – rather, take the time to enjoy each chocolate, preferably in three bites.
Bite 1: This acts as a palette cleanser and coater – think of it like an undercoat of paint. It’ll get rid of the taste of whatever you ate last (unless it was also chocolate…), and prime your tastebuds for what’s to come.
Pro tip: Chocolates that have salt on top do an even better job of cleansing the palette. Plus, the salt will help prevent the onset of muscle cramps – you know, if you’re doing a triathlon after your chocolate session.
Bite 2: This builds up the flavours (particularly the mid notes, which are more subtle), and is also where you start experiencing more of the chocolate’s textures. It’s also when you start panicking at only having one bite of chocolate left.
Bite 3: The third bite fully engages the senses of taste and smell, allowing for a full-flavoured experience. Repeat steps 1-3 as necessary.
3. Go from light to dark
Just like another of life’s modern-day essentials (correct: it’s wine), chocolate shouldn’t just be enjoyed in single portions. So when you’re sampling your way through a flight of cacao-based goodies, the same principles apply as when you’re cellar-door-hopping across the Hunter Valley.
Start from the lighter flavoured (and coloured) chocolates and work your way towards the darker ones that usually have more complex flavours – especially if there’s a roasted element in there that will linger on your tongue for a while. You don’t want a dark, toasty hazelnut praline to overpower a more delicate flavour.
So there you have it. Three simple steps to enjoy that chocolate even more. I can’t promise they’ll turn your shitty Kmart chocolate into Ghirardelli though.