Judging Chocolate is tiring, refreshing and oh so good?
This week has been such a fabulous experience for me, participating in the first annual “International Chocolate Awards” competition. As part of London’s famed Chocolate Week and Chocolate Unwrapped (London’s best chocolate show), the founders have tirelessly worked to create a truly worldwide collection of entrants and judges as they crisscrossed the globe in regional competitions that led to this week’s Finals.
The judges are an extraordinary collection of chocolate experts, connoisseurs, writers, lovers and then me. Being one of only a few North American judges was exciting and well, having never judged chocolate, all the more daunting.
My new judge friends carefully taught and encouraged me to just “taste the chocolate”; let it melt not mash in your mouth. So off we went to try about 140 samples in 2 days. Broken up into 7 two hour sessions of about 20 selections per session, we tried it all: white, milk, dark, bars, filled, paste, fruit, truffles… WOW!
For such a subjective decision, it really was quite scientific. We used a very intricate system of scoring and rechecking with clear rules to follow in silence. After each session, when talking was allowed, it was quite evident that chocolate is truly a unique food and everyone came from such different perspectives. What some believed was the best they ever tried, others weren’t quite as “illuminated” (to be nice about it). We used a soupy polenta between each sample to cleanse our palates. Reminded me of good old grits from home.
I loved it ALL. From fruits to licorice, bars to paste, I cannot think of one thing I wouldn’t like to try again, especially the flavors I usually don’t choose to try or buy.
Now my Quest just took another turn and got a bit longer as I now know there is so much yet to find.
Very excited to be on way to Brussels for the day o see one of the great Chocolate Capitals of the world.admin on 10/11/2012 No Comments
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