Well this is a first for the farm, and odds are
It's a first for our neighborhood (I'd say really good odds)
It's a first for our city (lower odds, but still probable)
A first for Honduras? (Not sure on odds. I've heard there was a chocolate company before, but that they closed pretty quick.)
Yes, we had a chocolate tasting party. James and Brittany Foster, our good friends, brought one of their summer teams over to taste chocolate last night. They tried four different dark chocolates that differed only by the final roasting temperature. I warned them ahead of time that it would be unlike any chocolate they have ever eaten.After the rough stuff, they were treated to some milk chocolate and various confections. The recipe was the same for all four darks, 60% chocolate liqueur, 10% cocoa butter and 30% sugar, but the tastes varied widely. On the lower range of the roasting, you had a fruity and sour type chocolate. At the top of the range, you had something quite a bit more bitter. As expected, most people preferred the milk chocolate over the four darks. Americans prefer milk chocolate over dark something like 2-1, based on a university study.
The goal was to determine the best roasting temperature, based on some market sampling. The roasting temperatures were 130C (266F), 135C (275F), 140C (284F) and 145C (293F). Essentially, the higher you roast cocoa, the less you will taste of its natural flavor, and the more it will taste burnt/bitter. Half of the participants preferred the bitter. A quarter liked the lower roast, another quarter liked the mid-range stuff. I honestly expected the 140C to win, as it was my favorite, even before I made chocolate with it. The freshly roasted 140 bean was the best tasting, to me.
The tasters had no idea what the difference was among the four darks, I tried to keep that mum until the end. They were quite shocked when I told them that the only difference was the roast.
Although 145C, the most bitter, was the favorite, there was a control group in the testing. Only one person liked the 130C the most, and he favored it over milk chocolate. Everyone else preferred the milk chocolate over all other dark chocolates. That oddball taster, won't mention names, James Foster, admitted that he prefers dark chocolate, and recommended that I add some sea salt to it. I might just do that. I might even try a lower roasting temp for the dark chocolate and see if we can retain more of the natural flavor.
So the conclusion I can draw:
Make a lot of milk chocolate.
Make a dark chocolate with a lower roasting temperature, add some sea salt. Sell this one as a specialty and label it clearly, dark, fruity and salty.
People prefer tastes they are familiar with. A fruity tasting chocolate is not familiar, bitter is.