Host Your Own Chocolate Tasting Party, Part I

If you can have cheese tasting parties and wine tasting parties, why not the occasional chocolate tasting party?

Despite our shared love of chocolate in all its delightful forms, the idea of the chocolate tasting party hasn't really caught on among chocolate extremos. Maybe it's because the activity itself doesn't seem particularly extreme, or because many of us consider chocolate consumption a solitary pursuit.

Well, rethink that concept! If wine and cheese snobs can get together and imbibe their drugs of choice, why can't chocolate snobs? Besides, chocolate tasting is a great way to "witness" to neophyte chocolate eaters, and possibly get a few more started on the righteous path of chocolate extremism.

In this two-parter, we'll show you how to do it up right.

Getting Started

First, sit down and do some planning. Give some serious thought to the kinds of chocolates to include in your tasting, and how many you'd like to present. A total of 6-7 works well. Do some research online, or at the local chocolatiers. Even being the extremo that you are, the range of available products may surprise you.

Along the way, decide how extreme you want the tasting to be. If you're a Constant Reader, then you know very well how many different types of extreme chocolate products there are out there, from tame stuff like strawberry-flavored Japanese Kit-Kat bars to chocolate-covered fish...and everything in between.

My recommendation is that for your debut effort, you stick with regular chocolate bars and maybe some fondues -- ideally, some that are new to you. Although folks would probably enjoy some of those Vosges bacon-chocolate bars....yum.

Moving Right Along...

So, what's your budget? Like any tasting party, this one's going to cost you a few bucks; you'll probably need to spend a hundred dollars or so to do a proper job. After all, it's a party. And it's chocolate.

That said, you might be surprised at how affordable chocolates can be. No matter how exotic, chocolate candies tend to cost less than $10 per bar, which should be sufficient for a half-dozen tasters each.

And let's get real: even the world's most expensive chocolates (not counting extravagantly silly puddings and other desserts sold more as publicity stunts than real confections) seldom cost more than about $40 per kilogram (that's 2.2 pounds). So splurge! After all, you get to eat the leftovers.

Sinfully Enjoyable

How you gather in your fellow chocolate extremos is up to you; email and word-of-mouth work just fine. But why not take a cue from the wine and cheese snobs and send out formal invitations? Your buddies will love that!

Keep an eye out for the next exciting episode, when we'll pass on a few more pointers on how to host an exquisite and memorable chocolate tasting party!