Sniff Before You Bite

Chocolate is best consumed at room temperature. Before you bite, break off a small piece, sniff it, and note the aroma. Then place it in your mouth and resist the temptation to chew. "The only way to bring the flavor out is to let it melt on your tongue," says David Siegel of WowCacao!, which runs guided tastings. With more than 1,500 distinct compounds, chocolate is complex, so your taste buds may detect many flavors. Between bars, cleanse your palate with water and bread.

For a well-rounded sampler, try the Pralus Pyramide Chocolate Square Stack ($48), with varieties from 10 countries. Chocophiles also recommend Valrhona Collection Gran Crus de Chocolat Noir ($37). Both are available at

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