Palate Training: Do I taste raisin notes in my chocolate?

Palate training for raisin notes in chocolate.

Foodies and palate training geeks!  Here is another palate training exercise to sharpen your skills.

Fine chocolate often has raisin aromas or tasting notes. Do you recognize exactly which variety of raisin?  I've assembled four commonly found raisin types to taste and commit to memory as a palate training session so that in future tastings I can articulate specifically which type of raisin aroma.

Palate Training Exercise for Raisins

  • Make sure your hands, dishes, and all utensils are free of soap or detergent scents.
  • Gather 3-4 types of raisins. I used Thompson, golden, black, and currants.
  • Place them in small bowls separately.
  • Sniff each variety separately, noting the difference in scent.  You'll be amazed at the diverse aromas.  Do your best to commit each scent to memory.
  • Taste each one, one at a time, cleansing your palate between tastes. Pay attention to the different flavor notes in each. 
  • Taste again while taking a long hard look at the raisins in the bowl while you are tasting. Try to burn the image into your memory along with the flavor notes as you taste.
  • Blind test.  This works best if you are working with a partner.  Close your eyes, mix up the order of the bowls.  Taste one at a time and try to recall which raisin you are tasting just from the aroma and flavors.  Make sure to cleanse your palate between each taste. 

Tasting Notes

These are just my notes.  Keep in mind that everyone has a different palate so your tasting notes might be different than mine.

  • Thompson seedless: Classic raisin flavor. sweet. Not really very grape like at all.
  • Golden raisins: Much less sweet than Thompson raisins, instead reminds me of white grape juice. Slightly acidic. 
  • Black raisins: Big bold kid like grape flavor. Instead of more grown up flavor notes they remind me grape jelly on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in grade school, with a nice grown up dried fruit twist. I'm surprised, I thought they would be more sophisticated, like a little black dress.
  • Currants: Although sweet, tart and acidic, almost citrus. 

Chocolate with Black Raisin Notes

Not only is the Belize bar in the Volta line by Forte Chocolates a gorgeous bar, is an example of a chocolate that has huge black raisin notes.

The Belize bar by Volta


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