OK, I’ve got a lot to share today so I’ll apologize in advance for my ramblings.
Sometimes, things change. We find we’re not what we thought we were or we find we are what we thought we weren’t. As I discovered this week, such is the case with me. Through no fault of my own, I have to admit I’ve become a chocolate snob. What’s amazing is that it was not even three weeks ago when I professed myself to not be a chocolate snob right here on this very blog. I don’t consider it a lie because when I wrote it, I truly wasn’t. But things have changed.
This week, a small group of us attended training for use on tasting panels. Sounds fun, no? I can hear you now - “You get to sit and taste chocolate all day for work?” While it’s every bit as interesting as it sounds, it’s not necessarily as fun. The simplest description I can give it is that we learned to taste for chocolate attributes that normally we might not have noticed when we were just “eating” chocolate. When you hear wine lovers talk of the different flavors in wine, chocolate can have as complex a profile as any wine. Nearly anyone can do it but it takes training to learn to extrapolate just what those flavors are.
Some of you are thinking you could sit and do this chocolate tasting thing all day. Fun thought. But no. You’ll be conked out in a sugar coma in two hours. Trust me. More importantly, some of you are thinking the only taste in chocolate is chocolate. That’s just what I thought. But what I discovered in training has since turned me off to a number of the chocolates manufactured by “the big guys” and even a few of those boutique chocolates that act as if they’re made by “the little guys”. It was heartbreaking.
I’ll continue to give every chocolate a chance. I might even give them a second chance because everyone deserves a second chance. And there is a large number of really great tasting chocolates I’ll continue to eat. But to be honest, the chocolate bar of my childhood shall never pass these lips now that I’ve learned the taste of sour milk. And there are a few of the more supposed “gourmet” chocolates that won’t get another glance from my direction as I now know I don’t care for the taste of hay and barnyard in my sweets.
But in the category of “it’s not all about me” here’s what I want you to do. Next time you settle in with your favorite chocolate (just plain, solid chocolate – milk or dark) and you break off a big piece ready to pop in your mouth - close your eyes. Put the chocolate in your mouth and give it a couple chews to get it melting. Then pause for a second and really taste what you’re eating. If nothing else, I think you’ll be amazed at just how many flavors besides just chocolate you can detect. And in my opinion, that’s what keeps me coming back for more of my favorites.