Chocolate & Texture

If you're familiar with the Fine Cacao & Chocolate Institute (FCCI) cacao grading protocol, you will know that one effective method of testing cacao bean flavour quality and profile is by the affectionately dubbed 'pop-corn test'. I knew nothing about this test until I started studying under chocolate guru Chloe Doutre Roussel and obviously uninitiated then, when Chloé told me to get a pop-corn maker and coffee grinder ready, I thought we were surely going to make some sort of exquisite cacao-popcorn-coffee brew. We all have our naive moments in chocolate! (And I doubt it ever stops, actually - there's just too much to discover in this complex, vast cacao world). The testing protocol is in fact a cheap and effective way of testing a handful of beans without roasting. The pop-corn maker puffs up the skin, making it easier to peel. You grind. You taste. You add a pinch of sugar, you taste again. It is a beautiful, playful exercise in the way that only cacao can bring you. Long story short, I developed a cacao grounds + sugar addiction. I can eat the stuff by the spoonful, which I have and still do, shamelessly so.

This Old School untempered 'bar' by SOMA , a craft chocolate maker in Canada, is a great reflection of that experience. I am wowed by this. I realise that the texture is a take it or leave it situation, but for this ground-cacao guzzler, it works. In fact - it reminds me of an Indian sweet called 'doodh peda' (say it with me: 'dude-pay-dah') - a little sweet, textured, milky log.

It is always fascinating how we each have our preferences not only for flavours but also textures. Some like the gritty rough textures of unrefined, or old school' chocolate; others prefery a velveteen buttery mouthfeel typical of Swiss chocolate. Either way, everyone has their own personal way of enjoying chocolate, but in order to know what you like it is always recommended to explore with as many chocolates and makers as possible.

I'd love to know whether you like chocolate with unusual textures or if you prefer a more traditional, smooth bar. More importantly, what's the reason behind your preference? Do share!


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