With so many types of chocolate out there to try, often knowing where to start can be a headache.
If you’re a chocolate fan like me, you want to taste it all.
And tasting it all isn’t such a bad thing. Have this dream come true, by throwing a chocolate tasting party.
Why a chocolate tasting party?
The benefit of experiencing chocolate like this is that you do get to taste all the chocolate you want, at once.
- It gives you the chance to experiment with flavors and brands you’d never have tried before.
- It’s a fun way to build up your knowledge about chocolate.
- And when it comes to recommending chocolate for friends, or buying for presents, you’ll know what you’re talking about.
Like a wine tasting, a chocolate tasting will help you appreciate the subtleties in flavor. Unlike wine, you won’t be leaving with a hangover.
Here’s how you can get started.
Invitation ideas for your chocolate tasting
Chocolates in a Photo — Search online stock libraries to find a photo of different types of chocolate. Then print and glue to white card, with your party info on the back.
Chocolate Quotes – Alternatively, use famous quotes about chocolate instead of photos. Here are a few I love:
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” – Charles M. Schulz
“The 12-step chocoholics program: Never be more than 12 steps away from chocolate!” – Terry Moore
“After eating chocolate you feel godlike, as though you can conquer enemies, lead armies, entice lovers.” – Emily Luchetti
Note: this is a tasting party, not a munching one. So make sure the tasters you choose who are genuinely interested in trying new tastes.
Don’t invite people who will eat everything in sight.
How many people to invite? — I’d say, between 8 and 10 guests. You keep your tasting intimate that way – and it helps your budget.
Chocolate event menu tips
The world of chocolate is so rich and vast, it’s worth researching what’s out there.
Here are a few types of chocolate to try:
- Dark chocolate – The higher the cocoa – 70%+ – the more bitter it is.
- Unsweetened chocolate – Also called cooking chocolate, this is mainly used in cakes, brownies and cookies. Has a very deep flavor.
- Milk chocolate – Taste will vary with this one, based on how low the amount of cocoa is. In the UK, milk chocolate contains only 20% cocoa.
- White chocolate – Not technically chocolate, as it contains no cocoa solids.
- Compare chocolate – By brand (Lindt vs Cadbury); country; Fairtrade vs mass-produced; American vs British.
- Drinking chocolate – Choose what isn’t already in choc-bar form
- Instead of milk, use slightly hot water. Use small cups, for sips
- Handmake your own chocolate – Melt your chocolate, then mix it with other ingredients – like chilli powder! Present these on their own unlabelled plate – and watch your tasters react.
How to run your chocolate tasting event
1) create a Rate the Taste Worksheet
This Rate the Taste sheet lets tasters share their thoughts about what they’re tasting, as they go from chocolate to chocolate.
- Adapt an Excel spreadhseet, with columns for flavor, aroma and texture along the top, and ‘chocolate 1’, ‘chocolate 2’, etc, down the left
- Print out copies, and provide pencils
- Create sheets with different orders of which chocolate, so people can start at different tables as well as mingle.
Hand out your sheets when everyone’s arrived, explaining how it works. Refer to it in the post-tasting section of the party, where tasters can share their experiences.
2) present your chocolate like this
Give each bar its own plate(s). Break it into chunks. Make sure you remove all their labels, otherwise you’ll ruin your tasters’ experience.
- Later, at the group share later, you can reveal what they’ve tasted
Number each plate, “chocolate 1", “chocolate 2", etc. Display them using table cards that tasters can see.
Save the very sweetest types of chocolate for the very last table. Keep all unopened bars far from the room.
Using drinking chocolate?
Display this on its own table, with each powder in their individual bowls, labelled “Drinking chocolate 1" etc. Add a flask of hot water, mini cups and spoons for stirring.
3) decorate your tasting party space
Go for a soft color palate – in white, gold and caramel – to evoke a sensuality and warmth with your party.
Cover your tables in a white tablecloth, each with a vase of cut flowers. Display them with a pitcher of drinking water and empty glasses, as well as a basket of plain bread, crackers and other palate cleaners.
Post chocolate tasting
If anyone’s hungry, lay on some proper food – especially food that absorbs sugar, like oatmeal, avocados, fish, chicken, sushi. Drinks? Mint tea and water.
Chocolate tasting party favors
Break up the unopened bars, and present the chunks in little gift boxes, wrapped with ribbon.
Include a list of the types of chocolate you’ve used. The way, tasters can follow up on the brands they like.