The Valrhona Tasting Wheel is designed to illustrate our expertise in cocoa beans and taste. By organizing Valrhona’s eight Grands Crus on a scale of aromatic strength and by rating them on the four principal sensorial criteria of acidity, bitterness, fruitiness and nuttiness, the Tasting Wheel is a tool that helps lovers of fine chocolate select and enjoy our Grands Crus chocolates.
The wheel is your guide into the world of Valrhona chocolate through "Taste.” Use it to refine your choices, by flavor profile preference, by curiosity, or simply allow yourself to be drawn into a realm of unique taste sensations.
The wheel shows that a chocolate's uniqueness is not linked to its percentage, but to its origin and its history.
Sight: First of all, look at the chocolate. Concentrate carefully on the polish, the shine, and especially the color. Colors can range from milky beiges, to pure mahoganies, to deep dark browns. It is an essential detail that reveals the varieties of cocoa beans used.
Smell: Next, smell the chocolate, breathe deeply and fill your mind and body with its aromas.
Hearing: Listen by breaking a square into fragments between your fingers, and listen to the snap it makes. Savor the chocolate as it meets your teeth...now the taste experience begins in earnest!
Taste: Start by biting into a quarter of a chocolate square, to taste the initial flavors, aromas and consistency. Then chew again and again, twice, three times (or more) and take the time to savor the various individual flavors that emerge.
Let the chocolate melt slowly and delicately on your tongue to reveal its flavors and its aromas.
Touch: Take a moment to concentrate on your tongue, to feel, to savor the different flavors: acid (sensations on the sides of the tongue, simulating salivation), then if you wait a little longer you may experience the bitterness (persistent sensation felt at the back of the tongue, becoming gradually more intense).
Taste again, but this time concentrate on your nose, and discover the aromas that unleash themselves one after the other. Similar to wine, you will first smell the most volatile aromas (primary or head aromas): These are instantaneous, fleeting flower or fruit aromas, which volatilize quickly and fade away in the middle of the tasting process.
Next, we move on to the aromas that are unveiled in the middle of the tasting experience, known as body aromas.
These are essentially hot aromas, such as roasted almonds, hot bread crust, spice mix, etc. Allow yourself to linger over the taste experience, for you will then be able to savor the less volatile aromas of certain chocolates, known as final aromas: These are often woody, roasted nibs (grué), malty, etc.
We hope you enjoy your sensorial trip!