The Chocolate Tasting Party
I took my daughter to Hershey Park Pennsylvania’s Hershey World, during spring break her high school senior year. I was so proud of her because she was getting ready to graduate, and it had been a struggle to keep her in school since kindergarten. Yes, she had to go to summer school, just to pass kindergarten! We went and did major chocolate tasting.
I took her to every event that I could in the chocolate factory. We made our own chocolate bar. A 4D mystery movie. The inside tour on how chocolate is made. The Trolley Tour of the town. We even did a class on learning how to eat chocolate!
There we learned about how to eat chocolate. How to taste chocolate. They gave us all kinds of chocolate to try. We learned about different flavor profiles. We ate a piece, the lecturer asked us what kinds of flavors we tasted, and we compared it with what the experts said the flavor profile of that chocolate tasting was. One guy said he tasted cheese in one bite, which was correct. Cheese? Seriously? He’d obviously been there before.
It was an eye opening experience, one I highly recommend.
The DIY Home Goddess Party
You’ve been to the same parties, over and over. To the extent you know exactly what is going to happen and what is going too be served. You are bored out of your mind, and decide it is your time to shine. But can you do something different? You want to show up all your friends, right? You want to host a party, but you don’t want to do the same old shebang? What is a diy home goddess to do?
Lots of Party Ideas, But Not Quite Right
A potluck is too churchy. Nothing against the church, mind you. I’m all for religion if it’s your thing. But potlucks just remind me of church socials.
You could do a wine and cheese tasting party, but it seems a little overdone. Plus, there are people who really don’t like blue cheese, and according to the experts, there should be some blue or green veins on the platter for it to work properly. But, if you want to give it a go, I have a post about a cheese tasting here.
What about an appetizer party? I’ve done those before. But most of my friends scoffed at it. They said there was no way they wold get enough to eat. Of course they were apologizing at the end of the evening, but that didn’t take away the amount of time I heard the complaints beforehand.
A full sit down dinner is nice, but the diy home goddess doesn’t have the time and money for a large gathering with an elegant meal.
A murder mystery party involves planning ahead of time, but I something I highly recommend. You can buy a premade kit at a toy store or here. The only problem with these is making sure you invite the right kinds of guests, because they have to be willing to play along, and we all know some sticks in the mud, don’t we?
Make your own pizza parties are more for teenagers, unless you want everyone to act like adolescents.
Wine or beer tasting parties are so over done.
A Chocolate Tasting Party? I know, what in the world is this goddess talking about, you are whispering to each other. It’s something totally different. Almost everyone likes chocolate, unless they are allergic to it. Or they are a weird cat like my dear old dad, and don’t like the stuff.
But most people would find a chocolate tasting party something fun. Something unique. And totally doable. It doesn’t take too much planning, and even less in the form of decorating.
Imagine trying to have an intellectual conversation about the textures involved with chocolate. Or the sound it makes when you snap it. It could turn into a very stimulating conversation, or it could turn totally silly. It depends on what your guests make of the party.
What You Will Need for a Chocolate Tasting Party
- About 12 people to invite, who you have confirmed like chocolate, and are willing to do the experiment
- Invitations specifically saying you are doing a chocolate tasting party, so the participants won’t be expecting a complete meal.
- 5 bars of good quality chocolate (anticipate about one ounce a person
- White Mats to display the chocolate
- Water with lemon for palette cleansing
- Apple slices for palette cleansing
- Salt free crackers for palette cleansing
- A snifter of unground coffee beans to clear the nose (after all, smell is big in tasting food, so we want a clear nose)
- White napkins for elegance
- Glasses for the water (use plastic tumblers if you don’t have enough water glasses)
- Note cards for each person with the following information and questions:
- Type (milk, dark, solid)
- Inclusion flavors on label
- Sight – what color is it?
- Smell – Can you pinpoint any specific aromas?
- Sound – When you snap it, does it sound crisp or mellow, high pitch or low?
- Taste – Can you identify any specific flavors? Does it finish clean or linger? Is the texture smooth or grainy?
- Overall rating – 1-5 stars
- Would you buy again?
- What Kinds of Chocolate to Buy
There are so many chocolates out there it can be totally overwhelming for any diy home goddess. There are several different ways to go about it.
- You can buy several different varieties of the same brand. These you would eat from the lowest percentage of cocoa to the highest.
- What about doing different percentages of a certain type of chocolate?
- Semi sweet
- milk chocolate
- dark chocolate
- with flavorings added, such as sea salt, caramel, cocoa nibs, coffee
- What about the same percentage in different brands?
- Some people go the extra mile and do it as desserts, but that’s too much for a diy home goddess!
What Kinds of Flavor Profiles To Look For
This is really where you go with what your palette tells you, but here are some ideas to get the ball rolling (based on the chocolate tasting kit):
- Fruity – what flavor
- Chocolate – well duh!
- Chemical – menthol, medicinal
- Sweet – honey, caramel, malt
- Dairy – butter, milk
- Woody – smoky, pine, oak
- Floral – vanilla, jasmine, lavender
- Herbal – mint, sage
- Roasted – coffee, burnt
- Spicy – cinnamon, peppery
- Earthy – tobacco, leather
- Nutty – almond, cashew
How to Do the Chocolate Tasting Party
Experts say this should be done earlier in the day, as the more food you’ve had, the worse your tastebuds will be. So I guess you want to do an afternoon party? I can’t imagine doing this first thing in the morning!
- Have the chocolate piece sitting on the white mat.
- Break the piece in half, and listen to the breakage. The cleaner the snap, the better quality, they say.
- Rub the chocolate piece between your fingers. It should be dry to the touch, smooth and even, unless there is something in it, such as nuts or nibs.
- Smell it and write down your impressions.
- When you taste the chocolate, put it on the tongue and let it melt. Move it around to let it touch all the tastebuds. Don’t chew! Chocolate melts at body temperature. My daughter does not like dark chocolate, but during our experiment at Hershey Park, by letting it melt, she actually was able to eat the dark chocolate piece and liked it!
- Fill out the score card.
- Sip water, and eat apple slices and crackers between the different chocolates to cleanse your palette.
- Repeat with the other chocolates.
- Don’t forget to discuss the experiences with your guests.
Links to More Information and Ideas On Chocolate Tasting Parties
- This one is divine. Don’t let the website, The Dating Divas scare you off. It’s a great one. It even has templates for you to print out, which will make a chocolate tasting party easier.
- Here is a website all about chocolate.
- The Nibble is an online magazine with an extensive article about a chocolate tasting party.
- The Nibble’s How to taste.
- The Nibble’s Tasting 101.
- And, if you want to go the extra mile, you can do wine pairings with this help from The Nibble.
I can tell you this. After doing some research, I found experts conflicted each other on chocolate and wine pairings. So my advice? Find out what your guests like. Just make sure the wines have some sweet notes to them. Don’t make them too dry. Your best bets are:
- Pinot Noirs
There you have it. A diy home goddess party no one else YOU know is doing. You will be the talk of your neighborhood! The buzz will be all about you!