- 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 38.4°C (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 it melts.
- 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 your mouth.
This will reveal how smooth is the chocolate (its particle size will be so fine in real chocolate 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.