To celebrate the launch of our new ‘Mindful Chocolate Tasting’ workshop, our mindfulness teacher and chocolatier, Meredith shares her tips for a most delicious mindful eating experience.
You might already have explored mindfulness through more traditional meditations, but there’s another – and very tasty – way to access presence, connection and sensory awareness… And it involves delicious dark chocolate.
Mindful eating, like many modern mindfulness practices, is a very ancient practice with its roots in Buddhism. It celebrates the way in which everyday behaviours can become acts of contemplation.
Why chocolate tasting beats wine tasting
Tasting is also one of the few times we engage all our senses so what better way to do this than with chocolate? Good dark chocolate is one of the most complex foods around when it comes to flavour; in fact, it’s even more complex than red wine. There are a whole range of flavours you might smell and taste in it, from grassiness to fruitiness to smokiness. However, you really only get the full impact of this when you slow down and taste mindfully. It’s no coincidence that the way you taste chocolate professionally is very similar to a mindful eating meditation. So how can you try this experience for yourself?
Follow these mindful chocolate tasting steps:
- Take one or two pieces of dark chocolate (ideally around 70% cocoa or above) and sit somewhere peaceful. Take a few gentle breaths in and out through your nose to settle your mind and body.
- Start by looking at the chocolate, being really curious about what you see, then lightly touch it with your fingers.
- Take the chocolate to your ear and break it, listening to the snap.
- Next, smell the chocolate, breathing deeply, and take note of any flavours (and yes, chocolate might be one of them!).
- Put a small piece in your mouth, and rather than chewing let the chocolate melt. Notice how it feels in your mouth and throat, and any flavours and tastes that are apparent.
- Rather than rushing to the next mouthful, like we often do, pause before repeating the process.
- As you are tasting, you may even want to bring to mind and thank the many hands that have been involved in growing, picking and making your chocolate.
To get even more from the experience, try a few different types or origins of dark chocolate next to each other and compare the tastes. Slight warning – repeating this exercise a few times may lead you down the path of true chocolate geekery!