What I like doing on a slow afternoon.
Comparing random craft chocolates with the same origins, just to see whether I can detect usual flavour suspects. Here, I played with Peruvian Chuncho, Cusco and Piura.
My takeaways on what I detected more than once:
1. Fresh tart notes of citrus, almost fresh mucilage in Piura
2. Yellow fruit (confit) and chocolatey for Chuncho
3. Caramel and stone fruit (cherry, nectarine,plum) in Cusco
Yet, there was a myriad of other flavour notes shining through. For example, one of the Chunchos' had plenty of tastebud tickling herbal, walnut and licorice notes. Some of the Piuras were more akin to bitter citrus zest, others more towards fresh squeezed juices. There was a Cusco with a deliciously warm sweet coffee note. So yes - I feel this is concrete proof that we simply cannot assign tasting descriptions based on origins alone. That's just massively stereotyping and discriminating, because how can we dismiss all the other factors that inadvertently alter flavour - like maker's style, particularly? I remember tasting American craft chocolate maker's Fresco medium roast Madagascar last year and being stunned by the caramel, coconut notes which I would never have expected from a forever branded 'red fruit' origin (it was divine, by the way).
During a usual fun chat with Estelle Tracy of 37chocolates recently, I found myself reflecting deeply on tasting abilities and demographics. Who's to say what's good or bad tasting notes anyway? Why is a preference for sweeter chocolate considered an inferior palate? Or, if you like smokey notes, should you closet that fact just because it's considered a flavour defect on the map?
My question to you: Do you think that chocolate tasting needs to come with a set of rules, to be taken more seriously?