I used to think my dream job would be that of a chocolate taster for a major candy company! After I read an article in Reader’s Digest written by Orietta Gianjorio, a chocolate taster for the Mars Chocolate-UC David Chocolate Panel, my bubble was burst forever. She said they stuck her in a small, dark room with no windows. Okay, that’s a deal-breaker right there. She went on to say that she was not allowed to talk, but was seated in front of a computer in order to log in information.
She said the chocolate had a red light shining on it so it would not be recognizable – so she would judge it according to taste, not sight. And – the worst part of all – she was not allowed to swallow the chocolate – just taste it – and spit it out. Well, needless to say, I’m no longer interested in that job!
There is apparently a routine to chocolate tasting. She smells the chocolate and logs its aroma. She breaks the chocolate and listens to it – also logging in the sound quality. Then she places a 1″ cube in her mouth for a few seconds, presses it against her palate and lets it melt, recording the four basic tastes – sweet, sour, bitter and salty.
Okay – now it gets weird. She blows out short puffs of air through her nose. Certain scent receptors in the back of our heads are stimulated by oxygen (they allow us to smell food even when we chew). Exhaling sharply can bring out aromas like berry, mushroom, black licorice, tea, citrus, beeswax, toast, cinnamon, and savory spices that are sometimes too subtle for the nose to catch. She logs those attributes too – along with the texture.
I just think that is really weird – and interesting at the same time. Now, aren’t you glad you know all that?
March 15-21 is AMERICAN CHOCOLATE WEEK. It’s a test of self-control for most of us, but if we can overcome the strong urge to eat the entire box of chocolates in one day, we can enjoy the day without guilt or regret (or having to buy a larger size of jeans).
If I gave you 10 seconds to tell me what your favorite chocolate is, could you do it? I thought about it, and I’m not sure I could narrow it down! I do enjoy a good M&M cookie, but I like a box of decadent chocolates once in a while. There are certain chocolate cakes that can make me weep, they taste so good.
If you get melted chocolate all over your hands, you’re eating it too slowly. – Author Unknown
Wouldn’t you suppose that if you were born in the U.K. you would naturally like the chocolate from there, and if you were born in the U.S. you would naturally think it is the best? In my mind that stands to reason, but what do I know?
Since this is AMERICAN Chocolate Week, we will focus on chocolate from the good ol’ USA. So what are America’s favorite chocolate products?
10. ALMOND JOY
9. HERSHEY’S COOKIES N’ CREME
8. MILKY WAY
7. 3 MUSKETEERS
5. KIT KAT
Snickers is Americas favorite chocolate bar! Is it any surprise with all that caramel and peanuts wrapped up in milk chocolate??? Some of us are weird though (yes, I’m raising my hand) – I like chocolate and caramel and nuts, but I don’t like them together. I know it’s different and strange, but I don’t do rocky road ice cream or any of the favorites. I am a plain M&M girl. Yep – just give me the yummy chocolate with the crunchy candy shell and that is great for me.
Of course, as Lucinda reminded us, chocolate does not have to be in candy form. It can be cookies or cakes. Last winter I drank my share of hot chocolate! The point of this week is to indulge in a little reward because you know we women deserve it! Wink! 😉