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Halloween Chocosurvey October 31, 2007

Posted by KG in Etc., Food.
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A Lake Champlain Chocolate Hazelnut Praline Bar was divided and distributed amongst five individuals.  Two describe themselves as enjoyers of candy who were not overly fond of chocolate,  two describe themselves as chocolate lovers, and one (the writer) does not enjoy candy.  Of those surveyed, the chocolate lovers reported that the bar in question was “outstanding,” (with one stating it was “the best American chocolate [she’d] had”) while the other three surveyed felt the chocolate was at best, “okay.”  Though only tangentially connected to previous experiments, this makes me wonder: is the love of chocolate an innate thing, or at least something learned at an early age?  Can someone who doesn’t like chocolate, and thus may not have been exposed to large amounts of “good” or “bad” chocolate, recognize the good stuff? 

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1. smuttynose - November 2, 2007

I would say that connoisseurs of any kind are made, not born (although, on a side note, I have read that supertasters are more likely to be women than men). When I was young, those orange sticks of Cabot cheddar were the height of my cheesetasting experience. Now, after much buffalo mozzarella and artisan gorgonzola, I can’t even bring myself to eat those indiscriminate cheese cubes in our catered lunches. However, with practice and exposure to new tastes, I think you can at least learn to tell the difference between “the good stuff” and the McDonald’s of chocolate.

That said, there’s a point when the pursuit of excellence can get in the way of enjoyment. I may never be able to appreciate a really good brie, a really good cab sauvignon, or a really good dark chocolate, because the “quality” specimens I have all leave me scrunching my nose in distaste. While you can develop a taste for things that are fresher/better seasoned/produced in a different way than you’re used to, I think at some point you have to say, “I know everyone is crazy about this food, but I just don’t enjoy it.” And at that point you have to ask yourself, “Is there a point to becoming knowledgable about a food I don’t enjoy?”

Do you think there’s hope for you and chocolate?


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