Six steps to paradise!
Fine chocolate is one of life's pleasures and one of the few vices, which today's society finds acceptable. Here's how to do it justice.
Step 1: Allow the chocolate bar to come to room temperature. Unwrap the bar and observe the color of the chocolate. Milk chocolate tends towards lighter browns or coffee colors and dark chocolates are much darker in color. Fine chocolates do not contain artificial flavorings or colors. There should not be a white powder or bloom on the surface of the chocolate. Bloom occurs when cocoa liquor and cocoa butter separate; this condition will not make you sick - but it doesn't look very appetizing! Myth: While the labels on milk chocolate bars often show an enticing pitcher of cold, frothy milk, actual chocolate production does not use milk in liquid form.
Step 2: Hold the bar firmly between the thumb and forefinger at each end and briskly snap the bar in half. Fine chocolate should give a satisfying snap and result in a smooth surface along the break. You don't want chocolate to crumble or be unduly soft.
Step 3: Sample the chocolate's aroma by inhaling along the surface of the break. The aroma should be pleasing and smell like cocoa. Avoid chocolates with a chemical or plastic smell and those, which have no smell at all.
Step 4: Fine chocolate melts at body temperature. If you hold the chocolate in your hand for a minute or so, you should notice that it begins to melt.
Step 5: Taste the chocolate. Place it on your tongue for a moment before chewing and gently press it against the roof of your mouth. As stated in Step 4, fine chocolate melts at body temperature and the chocolate should begin to dissolve just slightly on your tongue. Beware of chocolate that's so hard it could break your tooth! Chew and swallow. Taste is entirely subjective, but texture is not. You should not feel a waxy presence on the roof of your mouth, nor should the texture be especially granular. Smoothness is the key. A smooth texture and superb melting point indicates that the manufacturer did not skimp on costly cocoa butter.
Step 6: Do you sense a slight, subtle, fruity aftertaste? Very fresh, natural chocolate should leave an aftertaste that may just hint of raspberries, for example. Now, just... ENJOY!