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“We’ve been doing it wrong.” Or: How to get much more out of chocolate taste!

January 26, 2014
  • Barry Callebaut and Belgian wine expert Frank Van Der Auwera show how to get more out of chocolate taste
  • Simple but effective tasting ritual learns us to use all senses to explore chocolate taste 

Wieze/Belgium, January 26, 2014 – “Tasting chocolate? We’ve been doing it entirely wrong!”, says internationally awarded wine expert Frank Van Der Auwera. Together with Barry Callebaut, he looked into how we can enjoy chocolate even more and found a way to get much more out of chocolate taste.

For its new range of Origin chocolates, Barry Callebaut searched for ways to explore, enjoy and describe all facets of the chocolate taste experience. Looking at how wine experts use sensory methodology in tasting and describing wines, the company teamed up with Frank Van Der Auwera, wine writer and expert, to watch and learn – bringing chocolate tasting to the next level.

A wine tasting ritual literally engages with all of our senses to get a deep understanding of the glass of wine in front of us. So why don’t we do the same thing with chocolate? It is a natural reflex to look at beverages and smell them before we taste them. We hardly do that with solid foods - or, we just do it unconsciously. That’s why Barry Callebaut and Frank Van Der Auwera want to sharpen the way we look at, listen to and taste chocolate for new ways that help us to reappraise chocolate taste.

“As a test case, I composed a taste team of wine experts. During extensive tastings of a new range of Barry Callebaut Origin chocolates, we applied the techniques of wine tasting.” That technique starts with the visual and auditory aspect. By first looking at its color and listening to the snap of the chocolate when you break it, you get a great first impression. The first smell that is released when breaking the chocolate made us discover multifold what we would normally experience. And then there’s the great moment of tasting. By doing it in-depth and with a new consciousness, every team member was simply stunned. We revealed literally layers and layers of sensory richness that lie hidden in each chocolate. These tasting techniques helped us to get much more out of the rich flavors a chocolate is offering. We were amazed that the parallels between wine and chocolate just kept surfacing. It’s about terroir, it’s about the way the taste hits the palate, the balance of the chocolate, the way it develops and lingers after the tasting…in almost every way it is exactly like wine tasting.”

“We sometimes forget how much effort goes into one tiny piece of chocolate”, says Sofie De Lathouwer – Marketing Director FM Western Europe for Barry Callebaut. “Farmers all over the world go to great lengths to produce top grade cocoa beans. Cultivation literally takes months. And after the harvest, special care is given to the beans to ferment and dry them. In turn we, as chocolate maker, do everything to get all the complex flavors of the beans into a delicious tasting chocolate. From blending to roasting and conching: every step is fine-tuned to get the best in the end product. And our customers bring those flavors even further to life with adding a special finishing touch like amazing fillings or textures. So, chocolate really deserves to be enjoyed with all our senses. It feels that we have finally found a way to offer these great Origin chocolates the respect and attention they truly deserve.”


About Frank Van der Auwera:
Frank Van der Auwera is an internationally awarded wine writer and expert. Since 1988, he is the author of the bestselling Belgian wine guide “300 Wines under 10 Euro”. His books have sold more than 500 000 copies.

Currently, he is a wine expert for Sabato, the luxury magazine of Belgian financial paper De Tijd, as well as Attitude and the website VTMkoken.be, the culinary brand of the Belgian national television station VTM. He also blogs at wijntijd.be since 2008.

In 2000, he was awarded the title of Wine World Ambassador of the Year 2000, an award he would receive a second time in 2005. His ‘Wijnkoopgids’ was named the ‘Best Wine Guide in Dutch’ by the jury of the international Gourmand Awards in 2002 – while his website Under The Cork was chosen as the ‘Best e-commercie site of 2002’ by Clickx Magazine. In the spring of 2004, Frank was awarded the prestigious Le Prix Louis Marinier for his journalistic work.

Barry Callebaut:
With annual sales of about CHF 4.9 billion (EUR 4.0 billion / USD 5.2 billion) in fiscal year 2012/13, Zurich-based Barry Callebaut is the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products – from sourcing and processing cocoa beans to producing the finest chocolates, including chocolate fillings, decorations and compounds. The company runs more than 50 production facilities worldwide and employs a diverse and dedicated global workforce of over 8,500 people.

Barry Callebaut serves the entire food industry, from industrial food manufacturers to artisanal and professional users of chocolate, such as chocolatiers, pastry chefs, bakers, hotels, restaurants or caterers. The two global brands catering to the specific needs of these Gourmet customers are Callebaut® and Cacao Barry®.

Barry Callebaut is committed to a sustainable cocoa production through its “Cocoa Horizons” initiative, and to help ensure future supplies of cocoa as well as improve farmer livelihoods.


High-res pictures:

For more information about the new chocolate tasting ritual, please contact:

Media Contact at Barry Callebaut Belgium nv
Sofie De Lathouwer,
Marketing Director FM Western-Europe
Phone: +32 53 73 0332

Media Contact at FINN PR
Jo Detavernier 
Sr. Consultant
FINN Public Relations
Phone: +32 (0) 486 45 69 81

Media Contact at Impact AG (German Media)
Birte Freese
Phone: +49 (0) 69- 955 264-21