The Chocolate Life

Discover Chocolate and Live La Vida Cocoa!

Valentine’s Day is nearly here! Gourmand that you are, you want to impress your sweetie with a spectacular chocolate and wine pairing. Yet the challenge is that you just don’t know your ganache from your gianduja.

No worries. Chocolate expert Clay Gordon teaches you everything you need to know in his scrumptiously delicious new book, Discover Chocolate: The Ultimate Guide to Buying, Tasting, and Enjoying Fine Chocolate.

Gordon makes a distinction between tasting chocolate and eating chocolate. According to Gordon, tasting chocolate is a conscious and deliberate process, one where you pay attention to every aspect of what you are eating and consciously evaluate the sensations you are experiencing in your mind. The method is similar to the way experts taste wine. In order to help you identify what you like or do not like about the chocolate you are experiencing, Gordon proposes you ask yourself these questions.

1. How is the chocolate presented?
2. What does the chocolate look like?
3. What does the chocolate feel and sound like when it is “snapped?”
4. What does the chocolate smell and taste like?
5. How does the chocolate feel on the tongue and how does it melt?
6. What other physical sensations does the chocolate cause in your mouth?
7. What memories does the chocolate evoke?

In the first part of the book, Gordon explains how to conduct a tasting, and goes into detail about the best time (the morning, when your palate is rested and at its peak) and the proper environment (a quiet, clean place where you won’t be distracted). You are advised to create a chocolate tasting journal, with columns in which to record a description, impressions of aroma, taste, texture, and related information such as price, other chocolates tasted in the session, etc.

The second part of the book clearly explains, in A to Z detail, how to analyze chocolate and the common tastes associated in specific kinds of chocolate around the world. You will learn about Belgian style chocolates, French style chocolates, American style chocolates, and more.

Now that your taste buds are sated and your curiosity aroused, Gordon explains how chocolate is made, detailing everything from how cacao seeds are fermented, dried, graded, and shipped. Finally, Gordon reveals the secrets of pairing chocolate with champagne, spirits, and wine.

If you’re a chocolate lover, buy this book! And if you know someone who loves chocolate, present this book as a gift along with one of the gourmet chocolate houses that Gordon recommends. You will be forever loved.

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