At a recent event at Barry Callebaut USA’s Chicago headquarters, culinary applications chef Mark Seaman discussed chocolate tasting. Attendees were given a burlap bag containing a white cocktail napkin, an eye mask, a small bottle of water, some paperwork, and a box with nine pieces of chocolate.

“All five of our senses taste the chocolate. The mouth is going to be the last,” Seaman said about the tasting experience.

This is part of the leading chocolate and cocoa product manufacturer’s sensory language and tasting ritual that help chocolate professionals and consumers to understand and express the richness of chocolate taste.

In early 2018, Barry Callebaut introduced “Hidden Persuaders in Cocoa and Chocolate: A Flavor Lexicon for Cocoa and Chocolate Sensory Professionals.” This was developed through extensive research by scientists from Barry Callebaut and leading global flavor house Givaudan. The inspiration for the book came from what has been previously created for wine, coffee. and craft beer categories. It provides insight on chocolate flavors, texture, and aroma.

“We lacked a language that did justice to the richness and complexity of chocolate experiences,” says Pablo Perversi, Chief Innovation, Quality & Sustainability Officer of the Barry Callebaut Group.  “Containing over 20,000 identifiable chemical compounds, cocoa is one of the most complex foodstuffs on earth. The sensory language that we have developed for chocolate, will allow consumers to share their passion for a specific chocolate taste much more accurately.”

Additionally, Barry Callebaut developed the Consumer Chocolate Sensory Wheel. With 87 descriptors covering the flavor, texture, and aroma of chocolate, it enables professionals and consumers to discover new dimensions of chocolate experience through the five senses: sight, touch, hearing, smell, and taste.