Planning a chocolate-tasting party can be fun if you know what to expect. There are many different types of chocolate to choose from, and choosing the right chocolate for your guests is crucial. You can also mix and match local chocolate with products from large manufacturers and play a blind-tasting game by letting your guests guess which bars are “fancy” and which ones aren’t. It’s also a good idea to serve chocolate at room temperature. Remember that different countries produce different chocolates, and the cacao used in each type has different characteristics. Cacao from Madagascar has a berry note, while cacao from Papua New Guinea has a smokey flavor. You can mix and match different kinds of chocolate, but focus on chocolates from the same country or region.
Choosing the Right Chocolate
There are some essential things to remember on how to host a chocolate tasting party. First, you’ll need to label the chocolates you serve, including notes about each good one, so your guests can make notes and identify their favorite. It would help if you also chose luxury chocolate, which has a satisfying snap when broken. It would help to consider what your guests will be drinking with the chocolates.
When choosing the chocolates for your tasting party, you want to include six or fewer different types of chocolates. More samples than that can overwhelm your guests. Also, be sure to place each sample on its own plate. Each plate should be accompanied by a note card containing the chocolate’s name and original wrapper. You should avoid pairing chocolate with spicy foods, leaving a nasty aftertaste in your mouth.
Setting the Scene
Chocolate is an excellent addition to various celebrations, and a chocolate-tasting party is no exception. To make the event extra festive, serve chilled bubblies, such as champagne, prosecco, or cava. Chocolate is also a great companion to wine, and it’s possible to pair several different wines with one another. Incorporating different wines into the party will give guests a better idea of each variety.
To make the party feel more relaxing:
- Set the scene beforehand.
- Choose background music that’s not too loud, and use gentle lighting.
- Avoid incense or scented candles, as they can distract from the experience.
- If possible, host the tasting in an outdoor space.
Choosing the Right Cheese Board
A cheese board is a perfect way to showcase the rich flavors of cheese. Its composition varies, but most are served on wooden or slate boards, which can be square, rectangular, or round. A cheese board’s appearance and sequence of items are critical to the quality of the tasting experience. It is recommended that cheeses are served in sequential order. It is also essential to choose cheeses that are not overpowering.
The cheese board should be prepared at least an hour before the party. Charcuterie and other foods should be placed on the board at least 10 minutes before the guests arrive. If your guests do not like cheese, cut it into small pieces and put it out one-half at a time. You can permanently remove the excess cheese later. An excellent way to prepare a cheese board is to draw a sketch of the board beforehand.
Choosing the Right Accompaniments
A chocolate-tasting party is a social gathering where guests taste and discuss various types of chocolate and their distinct flavor profiles. These events can be both educational and fun and allow guests to learn about various chocolate makers and the different pairings that they can make. Chocolate tastings should never be served as a replacement for a regular meal, and it is essential to schedule the event when guests aren’t too hungry or too full to taste. Also, it is recommended that guests refrain from eating anything rich in flavor for 30 minutes before sampling the chocolates.
To complement the chocolates, try pairing them with a glass of wine. A high-cacao wine complements the semi-sweet chocolate coating while highlighting the sweetness of fruits. Remember that the wine doesn’t have to be perfect; you should lower your expectations.
Choosing the Right Local Chocolatier
To host an excellent chocolate-tasting party, you’ll want to select the right local chocolatier to purchase your chocolates. While many large chocolate manufacturers offer good selections, local chocolatiers often have different flavors and styles. This is because chocolates from different countries have different flavors and percentages of cacao, resulting in different flavors. For this reason, you’ll want to focus on three or four chocolate makers and buy chocolates with similar percentages.
When choosing a local chocolatier, you’ll want to ensure that the chocolates are made using only the finest ingredients. Because chocolate is very personal, some people might prefer a fruity, floral, or nutty flavor over another. You’ll also want to choose a chocolatier who offers group pricing.