Forget the Wine and Cheese -- Have a Chocolate Tasting Shower Instead!

When was your last chocolate tasting shower? Well, partner, that's too long

When it comes to themed bridal showers, the wine and cheese tasting crowd has its adherents; but I say, why bother with spoiled grape juice and rotten milk when you can have a chocolate tasting shower instead? As we all know, chocolate is to human food as ambrosia was to the Greek gods' standard fare.

The nectar equivalent in this analogy is, of course, hot chocolate...or maybe chocolate syrup? You decide.

Planning and Prep

As you're probably aware, chocolate comes in a dizzying array of types, with various nuances of flavor to experience. Your first task as organizer of the tasting party may very well be the most difficult, as you'll have to narrow the choice down to just a few types. Experts on such events suggest 6-7 as the optimal number.

If you'd prefer to keep things tame, stick with the various dark chocolates, which tend to be bittersweet, and the much sweeter milk chocolates. White chocolate is also a good option, though it's really not chocolate as such, consisting as it does mostly of cocoa butter. It's delicious, though!

Chocolate Gone Wild

Then there are the more unusual flavors to try, such as the various Japanese varieties of Kit-Kat bars and Tabasco Spicy Chocolate. World Markets and the Internet are the best places to find these varieties, which are rare in the U.S.

One suggestion: bypass the chocolate-covered fish and seaweed if you happen to find any. And you might, so be careful out there.

Details, Details

Provide about a half-ounce of each type of chocolate per person. This doesn't sound like much, but it's enough for a nice, chewy chunk. We recommend you start with the lightest and sweetest, working your way slowly toward the Dark Side and the more unusual samples.

Be sure to avoid other foods while you're tasting, except maybe a light bread; and warn your fellow partiers not to eat spicy foods beforehand lest they ruin the experience. In between chocolates, refresh your palates with water or weak herbal tea.

Timing

When to schedule your chocolate experience is up to you, but I recommend just after the bride-to-be opens her wedding shower gifts, and before the male stripper arrives. You'll need that sugar rush about then, right?

If you care to, you can all evaluate each type of chocolate, voting for your favorites, and see which one comes out on top. Then you can emulate wine snobs and talk in wise tones about the various merits of each selection, in terms of bouquet, palate, texture, cacao content, and nib coarseness.

Or not. When you get right down to it, a chocolate tasting shower is really about having fun -- so just enjoy yourselves!

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