Does anyone remember the Star Trek episode where Deanna Troi was carefully eating a bowl of chocolate? She ate it slowly and deliberately, enjoying every single aspect of it. "It's not just a matter of taste. It's the whole experience." She said, "Relish every bite. Make every one an event."
- Save your chocolate experience for a moment when you can give it a minute or two. Chocolate is a sensual pleasure. It can appeal to more than simply your sense of taste.
- Sit down with it. Unwrap the chocolate and notice the sound of the packaging as you reveal it. Try to remember that first magical childhood moment when you met chocolate for the first time.
- Notice what it looks like, the colour, the way the light shines on it. Realize this chocolate is a food made from sunshine and clouds and the earth.
- Close your eyes and explore its texture with your fingers for a second. Not long though, this is chocolate after all.
- Bring it up to your nose and sniff. Chocolate is a bit like wine, the scents can be complex and different depending on the quality of the chocolate and the region where it was grown. Notice if there is one single aspect of the scent that appeals to you.
- If the piece you chose is thin, let hearing be a part of this sensual pleasure. Break in two. You may hear a crisp snap.
- Now it's time to put it in your mouth. Taste and scent are twins, so breathe in through your mouth at the same time as you let it begin to melt on your tongue and you get both senses at once. This is when the sense of smell kicks in, since the melt of the cocoa butter releases the fragrances. See if you notice more than one flavour. If you are patient enough to let it melt slowly, you may find more flavours develop while it melts - perhaps vanilla, or honey, fruit, spice, or wood.
The experts in chocolate, the flavour connoisseurs, follow careful rituals to get the most simple pleasure out of the experience.
- The Lindt people have a step by step guide to wine and chocolate tasting.
- In one of my cookbooks, "Adventures With Chocolate" by Paul. A. Young, the author says, "before I eat anything, I smell it first, even if just for a nanosecond while it passes beneath my nostrils." He also says, "I can taste the same chocolate every day and discover something new about it every time."
- Clotilde Dusoulier went to a Valrhona factory and learned there how to taste chocolate. She shared it on her cooking blog.
This chocolate meditation doesn't have to be about chocolate. While most of us have never met a chocolate we didn't like, some of you may prefer another treat.
Whatever you choose, try to bring in all 5 senses. This meditation is about being in the moment, and letting a simple pleasure expand to become an event to be relished.
Content © Janet Dane unless otherwise stated.