Building a chocolate vocabulary

Eating – the action of lifting food to your mouth, chewing and swallowing – is pretty straightforward. Tasting is something else entirely.

Even then, there’s a difference between tasting and being able to articulate what you’re tasting. Often, people lack the vocabulary to describe what they’re tasting. The lack of vocabulary can be frustrating, because then you can’t communicate what you’re experiencing to someone else – and as a result, you can’t compare results or have a conversation about it.

I know that my palate has gotten better as I’ve gotten older, and as I’ve become more conscious about tasting. Even then, my ability to describe flavours in chocolate is much more advanced than, say, wine or coffee, two products that are equally complex and flavourful. Typical chocolate profiles include the words fruity, nutty, floral, toasty…and the list is endless.

What words do you use to describe the flavours in chocolate?

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4 responses to “Building a chocolate vocabulary

  1. E your question is driving me crazy! the more I think about it, the more “texture or smell” related words I come up with: flat, mellow or silky. What about tangy, zesty, buttery, piquant or plain wishy-washy

  2. I am thinking bitter, yet invigorating, and addicting. It is really an excellent question, makes me think about other foods, as well. Thanks.

  3. Hi! So nice to have met you in SF…In case you haven’t seen it, here’s a nice posting from Amano on flavor wheels, etc:
    http://www.amanochocolate.com/blog/2009/08/10/tasting-wheels/

  4. Luisa and Buffalofoodie, thanks! It’s always interesting to hear what words come to other people.

    Seneca, likewise – and thanks for passing on this link. I notice that “toast” is missing from the wheel, which is one flavour that I particularly like. There are a number of other wheels out there…maybe it’ll be a mini-project of mine to consolidate them (lest anyone, ahem, reinvent the tasting wheel).

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