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chocolate tasting


seawakim
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I'm looking for ideas on good beverages and/or snacks to serve (at a chocolate tasting party) as palate cleansers.

Are there any particular things that would pair up nicely?

Should snacks even be served?

Are there any foods or drinks I should stay away from?

So far, my thoughts have been wine and perhaps sparkling water or sparkling fruit beverages.

Thank you for any and all help.

"If we don't find anything pleasant at least we shall find something new." Voltaire

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Hi kim, at the chocolate tastings that I have been to (put on by Bill Fredericks "chocolate man") the only thing that was used as a palate cleanser was a course white bread (not sour dough) and bottled water. I think that would be appropiate during the tasting and save the champagne and other things for after the formal part of the tasting is over so as not to confuse the tasting.

Fred Rowe

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What about a lemon or mint sorbet? Just don't make it too sweet.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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I like the white bread idea. Simple.

I also like the milk -- can't believe I didn't think of that.

What about snacks? Should I serve any?

"If we don't find anything pleasant at least we shall find something new." Voltaire

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Mini toothbrushes with scope toothpaste. No just kidding. All I was thinking is a champange granite'. I had a merlot after some homemade applesauce and that was a complete bad idea though. I understand why they say the dish/dessert sould never be sweeter thand the wine you are drinking. :wacko:

You could always stick with shot glasses of just some filtered water.

Debra Diller

"Sweet dreams are made of this" - Eurithmics

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I think the white bread is the best idea since it is a basic blank. If you do drinks or sorbets you are introducing new flavors to the equation. Of course if this is really more of a party where you are eating chocolate then do whatever you want. A serious chocolate tasting is sort of tiring and tedious to your friends who are undoubtedly thinking they would rather be eating chocolate and drinking drinks and generally having fun.

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Try either Orange sorbet or if you can find some jelly candies that aren't too sweet they could be used either. Raspberries can be good too. You could just use mineral water and a fortified wine; you might not be cleansing the palate completely, but al least they will give people a small break between chocolates. If you are having more than two chocolates, you should keep the cleanser consistent across all breaks to ensure that all the descriptions and comparisons are coming from the same starting point as much as possible.

'You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline - it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.'

- Frank Zappa

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I don't think sorbets or anything frozen would be a good choice. If your mouth is cold it's harder to taste the chocolate....

I'd go the opposite way and serve something warm and not at all sweet between brands.

I picked up the new book by Sherry Yard (of spago fame) and she writes, "Brush your teeth often. Remember, you are working with sugar and flour. Sugar can not only ruin your teeth but coat and dull your palate. All of my assistants keep a toothbrush in their lockers, and I urge them to brush (and rinse very thoughly) before their shift, during each break, and at the end of the shift."......just a thought.

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The best palate cleansers (in my experience) are:

1) Sparkling water. Preferably seltzer (Pellegrino and Perrier work well, too) -- something with no mineral content. The effervescence helps to clean the tongue. Club soda will not work, it has salt in it.

2) If you want to eat something, very thin slices of apple. The acidity, pectin, and fiber do a great job of cleaning the tongue and leave no aftertaste if followed up with ... sparkling water. I prefer Fujis or Galas. Again, VERY THIN slices.

Clay

Clay Gordon

president, pureorigin

editor/publisher www.chocophile.com

founder, New World Chocolate Society

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There are several beverages that work well for Chocolate tastings

My favorite drinks for large varieties of chocolates served at Hong Kong's Penninsula Hotel were:

Lemon Squash

Belgium Raspberry Beer

Zinfendal Wine

Ginger Beer

Dry Ginger Ale

Cafe dMonde Coffee with Chicory

Mateus or Lancers Rose Wine

and most appropiate of all is the palete cleaning, oil removing Yunnan Tea called Yunnan Bo Nay that was terrific for the cleansing of your pallete between different types of chocolates. [comes in tea bags]

Sec Champagne

These are all fun, not expensive and won't be overwhelmed during your tasting, it would also be nice if you had some English Bisquits, French Gaufrettes or simple slices of plain pound cakes.

Enjoy, Irwin

I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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Robert Linxe founder of La Maison Du Chocolat  uses room temp. still water and dry white bread.

Dry White Bread ? If it's my Chocolates and it was going to be only Bread, i'd settle for nothing less then "Challah", but still would maybe compromise with "Portugese or Hawaiian Sweet Bread".

No matter how good the Chocolate is it worth eating Dry White Bread. Seems like a affliction to me, even simple Dry Bland Soda Crackers would be more aacceptable. Actually any efferessent waters or beverages are not going to be indulged with by professionals as you do not wish any carbonization interfearing. B :wub: ut for the rest, why not?

I've been to tastings in Switzerland, Belgium, England and New York City and they were professional, but also were enjoyable. Not like wine or spirits tasting with Buckets provided. In chocolates your expected to be able to understand various nauances in the product itself, smoothness, flavor, texture, adaptability, smell, appearence, feel in hand, mouth, aftertaste and finish it's much more complex then 99% of the guests involved at the majority of Tastings. the remaining 1% won't be put off by any distractions.

Irwin

I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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But Seawakim has not divulged to us the intent of the chocolate tasting, which may be the theme of an evening for friends to get toggether, talk, and eat chocolate, bon bons, and treats made opf chocolate in which case they should heartily indulge in whatever beverages and other foods will make them jovial and happy and enjoy the sharing experience.

If Seawakim is conducting a class or serious taste testing for serious minded tasters to sample and discern the nuances of a selection of dark chocolates and appreciate the differences between a 64% and a 72%, between venezuala origin and costa rica, or blends etc then they should stick to something neutral and cleansing so they can perceive the qualities of the chocolates to be tasted.

Seawakim? Did you have this tasting? What did you taste? What was the purpose, pleasure or enlightenment? What did you use as palate cleansers, and how did your tasters react to the experience? What was your objective going in? Did you achieve it? What would you do differently if you were going to do it all over again?

People are dying to know.

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There are several beverages that work well for Chocolate tastings

My favorite drinks for large varieties of chocolates served at Hong Kong's Penninsula Hotel were:

Lemon Squash

Belgium Raspberry Beer

Zinfendal Wine

Ginger Beer

Dry Ginger Ale

Cafe dMonde Coffee with Chicory

Mateus or Lancers Rose Wine

and most appropiate of all is the palete cleaning, oil removing Yunnan Tea called Yunnan Bo Nay that was terrific for the cleansing of your pallete between different types of chocolates. [comes in tea bags]

Sec Champagne

These are all fun, not expensive and won't be overwhelmed during your tasting, it would also be nice if you had some English Bisquits, French Gaufrettes or simple slices of plain pound cakes.

Enjoy, Irwin

I went to Tacoma last night to watch my grand daughter perform in "The Mircle Worker", as Helen Keller at the Lakewood Playhouse for the second time.

Before going to the theatre I discussed with my daughter and her family about what would be most appropiate for cleansing the pallete at a Chocolate Tasting.

My daughter and her children are "Chocolate Nut's", having made trips to South America and Switzerland with a lot of Chocolate Tastings on the agenda. My daughter has a scrap book , going back to when she was six years old and started to keep her own Chocolate Dairy, after a tasting at the Pennsula Hotel in Hong Kong. When she was ship wrecked off New Guiana she grabbed her passport, chocolate stash and scrap book before returning for the rest of her belongings. That's establishing their chocolate feelings.

They served to me, a bisquit made from, "Taro", that they feel is very good to eat while tasting chocolates. I tried it with the few varieties that were on hand and was surprised how well it worked. It's available at Ranch 99 Markets and i'm going to pick up several packages this weekend just to give it a little test. I personally feel that there's nothing better then the ,"Yunnan Bo Nay Tea", that I drink requarly and buy by the case, since it so complimentry with seafood, spicy foods and anything oily, especially chocolate.

Irwin

I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for all the terrific ideas. Everyone is very helpful. We're really gearing up for this tasting on November 23rd and coming up with some new recipes we just came up with.

Sorry for not replying sooner -- we've been so busy testing flavors, that we haven't kept up on this thread.

Again, thanks for everyone for their suggestions. I know it will come in handy :smile:

"If we don't find anything pleasant at least we shall find something new." Voltaire

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