Something I hear quite often is people saying that they ‘can’t taste’ the tasting notes in chocolate. They love craft chocolate and can taste that what we sell is much higher quality, but when it comes to picking out notes of raspberry or hazelnut (for example), they feel they are missing something. I wanted to mention that this doesn’t matter at all, and in no way should you let this lessen your enjoyment of craft chocolate. I’m a huge music fan but I would never be able to tell you the specific notes or chords being played. It has no impact on how much I love a song.
If you would like to develop your tasting skills, a great way to start is by trying two single origin dark chocolates with the same cacao percentage side-by-side, and pick two that offer very different tasting notes (according to the wrapper or our website). You might like to test this out with the Wellington Chocolate Factory Vanuatu 70% and the Foundry Chocolate Peru 70%. Try them both and see if you can taste a difference between the two. In my experience, after running hundreds of tasting sessions over the years, almost everybody can taste a difference between two very distinctive bars like these. If you can taste a difference then you are picking up on the tasting notes - you might not be able to say what they are, but you are definitely aware of them. This is the key. From here, you might start to notice that some bars seem lighter or darker, brighter or deeper, fruitier or nuttier, etc. Just keep comparing different bars and you’ll start to notice common characteristics.
It will take most people a long time to get to the next stage of picking out more specific flavours. It involves training your palette, learning the vocabulary and how to express what you’re tasting, trying hundreds of different chocolates, and generally building up flavour experiences that will intermingle in your mind and communicate with your taste buds. It’s a very fun journey and I’m glad to be sharing it with you.