Chocolate - The Chocolate Connoisseur.
Chocolate Taste Tests:
The Chocolate Connoisseur by Chloé Doutre-Roussel.
Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light
by Mort Rosenblum.
Alice Medrich on chocolate.
Fran Bigelow on chocolate.
Je'oan D'ark Limoncello Truffles.
Chocolate Diets: Women's Stress Buster and other Diet recommendations.
Chocolate science: biology, chemistry, and psychology.
Glossy chocolate glossary.
The Chocolate Connoisseur by Chloé Doutre-Roussel.
||The Chocolate Connoisseur
by Chloé Doutre-Roussel.
After an introduction with a brief
(beginning about 1000 BCE, when wild cocoa trees are growing in the Amazon and
shown on Mayan pottery from that time),
we get ten sections:
- Chocolate past and present: 3 millennia of chocolate's history, culminating with a list of fine brands:
- Amedi (Pisa, Italy)
- Bonnat (France)
- Chocovic (Barcelona, Spain)
- Domori (Genoa, Italy)
- El Rey (Caracas, Venezuela)
- Guittard (San Francisco, USA)
- Marcolini (Belgium)
- Michael Recchiuti (San Francisco, USA)
- Michel Cluizel (Normandy, France)
- Pralus (Roanne, France)
- Scharffen Berger (USA)
- Valrhona (France)
- Building your own chocolate profile:
- List your current preferences (possibly of mass-market chocolate).
Primarily milk? Or Dark?
- Amedi's 'Milk' and their Dark 'Chuao' and 'Porcelana'
- Domori's Milk 'Latte Sal' and their Dark
'Porcelana' and 'Puertomar'.
- Michael Recchiuti's Dark 'Bittersweet 85% chocolate'
- Michel Cluizel's Dark 'Mangaro'
- Pralus's Mile 'Melissa' and Dark 'Java' and 'Indonésie'
- Scharffen Berger's 'Milk 41%'
- Valrhona's Milk 'Jivara' and their Dark 'Manjari' and 'Gran Couva'
- The next step is to ponder your chocolate history and more detail on your preferences,
as well as where you would like the book to take you in terms of depth and breadth
of chocolate experience.
- How to start making notes on your taste preferences and how to discover and shop for chocolate.
- Bean to bar
The process and the jargon
- Tasting, tasting, ...
Chloé's Five Senses Chocolate Tasting
- Chocolate to share
Tasting games have some general guidelines:
- Have no more than 15% difference in percentage of cocoa solids among the chocolate to be sampled.
- It's all milk bars or all plain bars.
- Set up the samples without tell-tale packaging or identification.
- Participants should not drink tea, coffee, or alcohol, or eat in the prior 2 hours.
- Provide palate cleansers: water and bread.
One game is to provide three samples: three are different and the 4th is a duplicate.
Can your friends tell which sample is duplicated?
- The cream of the crop
This is where she:
- Shows you criteria to help you pick other bars than those she recommends.
- Claims (p.128) she eats 'more than a pound of chocolate a day,
but none of it from the 95 per cent that makes up the majority of
the world's chocolate. I eat only the best.'
- Bars and bonbons
Her preference is for bars. But for filled chocolates, she has a 'four chocolate test' for a chocolatier:
- Ganaches. One plain milk and one plain dark. Both should have zero alcohol.
- Marzipan. Not flavored: no added pistachio or alcohol whatsoever.
- Pralinés. Not flavored; no chocolate added to the ground nuts and caramel that comprise praliné.
- House specialty. Two of whatever they are most proud.
her book for information on how to judge these samples
and for her recipe for making your own truffles.
- Chocolate: friend or foe?
This is a section of PR and spin.
- Becoming a connoisseur
Mainly a sample day at her job as the Fortnum & Mason's chocolate buyer.
- The future of chocolate
Hopes and expectations.
The book ends with a Glossary and Bibliography.
Chloé's Chocolate Taste Test.
- Obtain a variety of Real Chocolates.
- Look for 50% to 70% cocoa solids.
High, but not exaggerated cocoa content is suggested.
- The origin and variety of the cocoa beans will tell you more about the
chocolate's quality than anything else.
- Any added vanilla should be real vanilla, not vanillin (an artificial flavoring derived from pine trees).
- For comparison, you might want to include some Fast Chocolates,
though some would say "why bother."
- Yes, eat dessert first.
Test-taste chocolate on an empty stomach.
- Have the chocolate at room temperature.
Danger: if you store it in a
refrigerator, you may cause the cocoa to separate, creating a white bloom on the surface.
- Naturally, in a test, you are sampling different chocolates.
Taste them in sequence, according to their percentage of chocolate.
Some suggest that you begin with the one containing the least cocoa:
white chocolate, which may have cocoa butter, but it has no cocoa at all.
The next lowest will be the milk chocolate.
Others, like Chantal Coady
suggest that you begin with the one containing the greatest percentage of cocoa.
- Set up some glasses of water, perhaps room temperature, so that you can clear your palate
- For each sample use:
- Smell. Sniff the chocolate.
What do you notice?
Fruit? Woody notes? Spices? Tobacco? etc.
- Sound. Break the chocolate close to your ear and listen.
Real chocolate contains cocoa butter crystals,
and will have a distinct snap.
Fast chocolate, on the other hand,
"is more like plasticine; expect a dull thud."
- Sight. The bar itself should be flawless and lustrous.
When you have broken the chocolate bar, look at the features of the break.
It should not collapse in crumbles and splinters.
It should be glossy (indicating freshness)
and reddish (indicating that it was not over-roasted).
- Touch. Cocoa butter melts at 94°F.
It should melt at body temperature.
The higher the quantity of cocoa butter, the better quality the chocolate and the lower the temperature at which
- Taste. Finally we get the point of it all!!
Allow the chocolate to sit in your mouth for a few seconds to
release its primary flavors and aromas. Then chew it a few times to release
the secondary aromas. Let it rest lightly against the roof of your mouth so
you experience the full range of flavors. Finally, enjoy the lingering taste in
This will reveal
how smooth is the chocolate (its particle size will be so fine in
that you will not notice it);
its finish (lingering deliciously, without any greasy residue);
and the perfume of the released volatile aromas as the chocolate melts in your mouth.
||Death by Chocolate: The Last Word on a Consuming Passion
by Marcel Desaulniers (Author), Michael Grand (Photographer)
Try Dark Chocolate and Pumpkin Cheesecake.
Or Caramel Banana Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.
Or Chocolate Dementia.
||The Five Senses Chocolate test as recommended in
Real Chocolate : Sweet and Savory Recipes for Nature's Purest Form of Bliss
by Chantal Coady.
Fabulous recipes arriving every couple of months.