Tasting is a process. It takes some practice but it’s really pretty easy. There are two things people often do that prevents the flavors from coming through.
Taste, don’t eat.
Don’t just eat the chocolate or drink the wine. Start by opening up your senses. Smell the wine. Think about what you a smelling. Smell the chocolate. Again, think about what you are smelling. Try to identify with the aromas. Try to figure out what flavors might lay inside.
Sip the wine. Get a feel for what the wine tastes like on its own. Determine if the wine is sweet, acidic, astringent. Think about fruits and flowers. See if you can detect any of these flavors in the wine.
Now, bite a little chocolate. Try not to chew it, rather let it melt on your tongue until it’s almost gone. While it’s melting, try to detect the subtle flavors. Determine if it is sweet, mellow, bitter or something else. Think about fruity, floral, nutty and woody tastes. See if you detect anything you can identify.
Now sip the wine again. Let the wine and chocolate come together in your mouth. What flavors do you detect? Many times the sweetness in the chocolate cancels the sweetness in the wine. This unlocks the hidden flavors in both the chocolate and the wine.
Try the same wine with a different chocolate. Are the flavors different? Is it better than the last chocolate? You can repeat this with several wines and several chocolates. Each will have different results. We’re sure you’ll find a favorite combination.
Take Your Time
Tasting is all about the experience. If you take it too fast, you can’t get the most out of anything you eat. If you pace yourself and think about what you are experiencing, you’ll get a lot more out the experience.
Try to slow yourself down until your palate is clear. If you have to, sip some water between the different pairing experiences. Another tip is to eat something neutral in flavor like a saltine or unflavored light cracker. This will help clear your palate. It will also help slow down the process.
You have to let your brain process what you’ve experienced. If you don’t, you won’t get the most out what you are sampling.