ENDURANCE TRAINING FOR THE TASTE BUDS

This Saturday morning as most people enjoy a lazy lie in, i was up at dawn for an endurance training, a marathon chocolate tasting of 32 bars of chocolate, milk and dark, with beans from specific countries of origin spanning all continents on the cocoa belts (a narrow region about 5 degrees North and South of the equator). Sadly the proceedings did not look like the above picture: just me, a large bottle of water, a spit cup, some rice cakes and a long table covered with little squares of chocolate. And as i looked upon the lay out, it made me wonder: is too much of a good things still a good thing or just too much? A friend told me "do you know how many people would kill for that?" Perhaps the idea is indulgent but the ability to still discern anything after so much chocolate is an acquired skill. Even with tiny nibbles (hence the spit cup), water breaks and some neutral other food, taste buds get overloaded and refuse to cooperate. I am not a quitter, especially when it comes to chocolate. So i calmly and resolutely kept going, smelling, melting, tasting, spitting and thinking about my friend's comment. I am not sure if taste buds can be considered a muscle but the more they are exercised regularly, the easier it becomes to manage long tasting sessions. As mine are worked out daily in our tasting panel (every  batch of our chocolates made every day passed - at least in tiny bits - by my lips), i could still smell and taste wide variances between the different squares, even for beans from the same country of origin. And this is, in short, what i found out: 1. Origin does not mean quality: some of the samples i tasted had notes of fungi, chalky textures, dominant sweetness or simply were as flat in taste as a pancake . You can slap an exotic country name on a packaging but that does not make the chocolate inside better! 2. Taste is personal. I tend to go for distinctive chocolate full of flavours, not overly sweet and rounded. Everyone is different and that is what makes the world interesting. Same applies to chocolate. 3. Too much of a good thing is still a very good thing! So get tasting (our bars are a good start) and like an athlete increase the length of your tasting session as you go along. Im right behind you.

Have an intense week Miss Anne x