How to find specific flavor notes in chocolate: An exercise in tasting for fig

Chocolate tasting with a specific goal of finding fig like aromas and flavors. 

A specific taste test of chocolate bars for fig notes

Want an fun experience that will hone your taste buds?  This exercise will keep you trying chocolate until you find just the right match.

First, make sure you have a firm grasp on the aromas and flavor notes you would like to identify in chocolate. Smelling and tasting while taking notes really helps to cement those memories. I focused just on fig notes for this experiment (more on my palate training for fig notes).

The next step is to test your memory and see if you can find those same combinations of notes in chocolate, which means tasting chocolate until you find those notes.

How to:

  1. To start, chose chocolate from an origin with a reputation of having the notes you are looking for.  Remember this is just a starting point, you may not find what you are looking for in that origin. *I chose Madagascar and Peru initially but when I spotted a bar from Papua New Guinea it triggered a memory of some smoky molasses notes, and that worked out to have definite figgy notes.                                                                                                                           
  2. Sniff and taste each piece of chocolate intentionally evaluating for the predominant notes you are searching for.  Take your time, don't rush.  Don't get frustrated.  You'll likely not find all of the same notes, just similar ones. *In Black Mission Figs I was searching for a molasses note along side a tart fruit note.  For the Calimyrna fig wanted to find the honey/champagne notes.                                                
  3. Take notes as you taste each chocolate.  This is very important.  Without notes track your tastings they may all become one jumbled memory of a chocolate morning or afternoon.   

My adventure or exercise tasting chocolate for fig notes:

With the figs on my desk to consult as a cheat sheet, much like an open book test, I tasted and took notes on 15 bars from my chocolate collection until I found a few bars that reminded me of specific fig notes.

Calimyrna Figs with Soma Old School Madagascar Chocolate Bar

Soma Old School Madagascar had very similar notes to the Calimyrna Fig
The honey and soft fruit notes of the fig are replicated in the chocolate.  The fig seeds simulated the rough ground texture of the cacao used in the bar which brought texture to the experience which was a nice bonus I didn't expect.

Fresco #225 San Martin Peru Chocolate Bar with  Black Mission Figs
Fresco Saint Martin Peru 225 and Dandelion Papua New Guinea 2011 Harvest both had Black Mission Fig notes

Fresco 225:  Notes of molasses and fruit, a little musky note.  I wonder if a slightly darker roast would bring out the molasses a bit more.  Luckily Fresco notes the roast level so I just might be able to find a bar they make from this same origin with a darker roast.

Dandelion: Mellow smoky notes that reminded me of the molasses of the fig and fruit flavors that surfaced every so often during the melt.  Definite figgyness.

Dandelion Chocolate Papua New Guinea Bar with Black Mission Figs

Now on to the next chocolate adventure...


#chocolatetasting #palatetraining #flavornotes #aroma #fig #chocolate #craftchocolate


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