Tasting Session at Epcot – Follow Up
The chocolate classes at Epcot went really well and were a lot of fun (what’s not fun at Epcot?). It was amazing that when I arrived more than an hour prior to the start of the class, there already was a line of 75+ people waiting to get in (and only the first 45 got seats, with another 20-30 standing!). As the slogan goes, “chocolate really does change your world!”.
The first part of the class focused on where chocolate comes from. The second part of the class that everyone really was most interested in (I made them sit in their chairs with four chocolates in front of them for nearly 25 minutes before they could eat – and again, this was after they had been standing in line an hour or more!).
We started by tasting milk chocolate. Everyone had to slow down and actually TASTE the chocolate (rather than EAT the chocolate). Step 1: look at the appearance and take note of the aroma (vanilla and caramelized sugar in milk chocolate). Step 2 was to taste the chocolate and identify the key flavor components: sweet, cooked milk, caramelized sugar, lactic sour, and chocolate.
The tasting was primarily dark chocolates given the popularity of dark and the wide variances in flavors. This is where the fun began. Our standard 54% cocoa content dark chocolate was up next, with its key flavor attributes of: sweet, baked brownie, chocolate, sour (citric), and brown fruit. From there, we journeyed up the chocolate scale to 75% cocoa content, a single origin dark chocolate from Tanzania. This chocolate is dramatically different from the 54% dark, featuring hints of tropical fruit (think banana), lots of citric sour, slightly more bitter, and a robust chocolate/baked brownie flavor.
Last but not least, we got to see how a high cocoa dark chocolate can complement a sweeter ganache center. And, how good products with organic ingredients taste today. The 70% Dark Chocolate Organic Truffle featured dairy notes like cooked milk and lactic sour with a strong presence of chocolate, cocoa, bitter, and sour.
Great questions from the crowds each day, ranging from “Where can you buy Lake Champlain Chocolates” to “Are the cacao plants hand-pollinated or pollinated by bees”? Chocolate is something that nearly everyone loves and is fanatical about – it was a great opportunity to share my passion with more than 200 people from around the world!