Don’t get me wrong- creamy milk chocolate can be absolutely delightful at the right time. But there’s something more interesting about the tanginess and bite of a chocolate in the 65-80% cacoa range.
Although…in this age of gourmet elitism, when darker is always better, I find myself wondering if there is such a thing as too dark…
Ok, here’s an illustration. Has this ever happened to anyone else? I know I can’t be the only one with this particular childhood memory:
It’s 1980-something, and I get to help Mom make brownies! I pull up a chair and climb up on the counter. I lick my lips in anticipation as the wrapper comes off the chocolate bar. “Can I have a taste?” I ask innocently, flashing my irresistable puppy dog face.
“You won’t like it,” my mom warns sweetly.
Uhh, hellooo. It’s chocolate, right? …Crazy lady.
So with mouth open wide, I plop in a piece of the black, glossy temptation – only to very quickly realize something is amuck. And so I learn the difficult lesson of a tricky little character named UNSWEETENED baking chocolate who masquerades as the good stuff to unsuspecting children who can’t yet read.
My mom laughs as I gag dramatically (that crazy lady…). I am not so amused.
Fast forward to 2007. My little brother, who is very sweet and who knows my interests well, gives me a few nice chocolate bars. Among them is this gem:
This big guy features “99% Cacoa” in bright, shiny, gold letters written across the front. Wow, that’s probably pretty intense…
Open up the package and you’ll see this really scary label on the wrapper:
Yep, these are indeed instructions on how to taste the chocolate safely. Instructions on how to partake of its complexity without having to rush to the sink, one’s mouth dripping from the sides with black goo like a zombie from 28 Weeks Later. (What’s that? No, of course this didn’t happen to moi!) ;)
According to this label, the best way to relieve the potential trauma to unsophisticated taste buds is to quickly wash the chocolate down with a big gulp of soothing black coffee.
Needless to say, my palate is apparently not “developed” enough to withstand the Lindt 99. Or at least not enough to honestly say I enjoyed it.
I want to have a discerning palate, though. I want to be a proper chocolateuse.
But at the end of the day, I’m afraid that bitter, burning sensation on the tongue will probably always transform me into a five year old who has accidentally picked up the wrong baking bar. (Geez, that crazy lady…)
Does anyone else think enough is enough…or am I just a wimp? (You can say it). Any suggestions on developing my palate?