Nowadays, Eagranie teaches private and public chocolate tasting classes, she writes about chocolate, and she is a Canadian partner and judge for the International Chocolate Awards. And she still somehow maintains a day job as a course architect and editor at ROUXBE online cooking school.
With all of that combined experience, Eagranie has just published her first book and guide called: The Chocolate Tasting Kit. It is described as the "...essential guide to buying, tasting and appreciating fine chocolate." I received one of these kits in the mail and have been testing it out.
At first, I thought about whether or not I would use a 'kit' to taste chocolate, and truthfully, I thought I could not possibly need it. After all, I have been doing this for a long time, right? I have my own system and have moved on from saving wrappers to writing about chocolate myself. I even give local chocolate tasting classes, like Eagranie does. But when I opened the kit and tried it out with several fine origin chocolate bars, I quickly saw the benefit for anyone who is taking a keen interest in chocolate. And in fact, I saw the benefit for myself to refine my taste buds and cause me to think more critically about the chocolate that I am tasting.
- a book with background information on chocolate (i.e. where it comes from, how it is made, the difference between fine and mass market chocolate and what chocolate-makers and chocolatiers do with it), as well as guides to: buying chocolate, tasting it and holding a chocolate tasting party.
- a chocolate-tasting note-pad to assist the chocolate taster in describing each chocolate bar that they taste.
- 12 flash cards that help prompt the taster when describing the flavour of their chocolate
- an envelop to keep chocolate wrappers.
Often times, I will have a general feel for the chocolate that I am tasting, but cannot always find the words to describe it. I found that Eagranie's flash cards and notepad really did help me put my experiences into words.
Another valuable tool was the envelope to hold the wrapper. When I first started seeking out and tasting fine chocolate 10 years ago, I always had piles of wrappers lying around. I would inevitably put them in a Ziplock bag or some other envelope, but they could still be found all around my house in messy piles. The envelope and the kit box provided by Eagranie offer a great way to store my wrappers.
The Chocolate Tasting Kit is available at several retailers, including Chapters-Indigo at a great online price and some independent retailers. Eagranie is participating in a series of chocolate tasting events to launch the tasting kit. You can find the list on her website here.