Saturday, September 25, 2010

On Chocolate (Or, The great taste-testing adventure)

"Everyone's a critic." And now, so are my daughter and I. In attempt to find something creative to do on a rainy Saturday, my 9-year-old daughter and I decided to be our own chocolate critics. As self-proclaimed chocolate connoisseurs, we considered ourselves up to the task. We went to our neighborhood Kilwin's and ordered one of almost everything from the individual cordials/truffles tray. It was an expensive experiment worth its weight in chocolate, not so much because it was delicious but rather because it was enlightening.

We sat down outside the store under the covered patio and got to work evaluating each chocolate based on smell, texture, and taste, and finishing it off with a rating from 1 to 10. We sampled eleven different pieces, the first three of which did not come from the glass display but from the open basket section where each individually-wrapped piece sold for 40 cents. The remaining eight pieces came from the counter and sold for over $1 a piece. The results surprised us.

The only two perfect 10's went to the individually-wrapped pansy, a 40-cent item that was rich and pure in its flavor and had just the right amount of bite, and the chocolate mint truffle with its smooth, authentic mint filling. The rest of the high scores were as follows:

-the coffee truffle (smooth, thick filling with an authentic coffee flavor) = 9.5
-butter cream (melty, soft center just like butter cream frosting) = 8
-chocolate heart (individually-wrapped 40-cent  item with a pure chocolate flavor) = 6

From this point on, it got ugly:

-amaretto truffle (not so sweet but with a smooth center) = 5
-chocolate dome (individually-wrapped 40-cent item, slightly bitter) = 4
-chocolate bon bon (white chocolate shell with disappointing center) = 3.5

The last three scored so low because their flavors were indistinguishable. Here's our best guess of what we ate:

-Irish cream truffle = 3
-hazelnut truffle (smooth center but no nutty flavor) = 2
-champagne truffle (smelled like coconut!) = 2

When all was said and done, we walked away from the table deeply unsatisfied with an aftertaste that sent us to the water fountain, convinced that the taste of public water would be more pleasing than the bitterness that saturated our tongues.

To close, let me just say this. I LOVE CHOCOLATE. And so does my daughter. But our final analysis is that Kilwin's is overrated and overpriced. We agree that chocolate bliss can be more readily achieved with a Lindor truffle, though I prefer dark chocolate while my daughter will fight to the end that milk chocolate rules.

We enjoyed our outing despite the disappointing results, but I think our next chocolate critique should take place in Switzerland, preferably in Zurich at the Lindt & Spr√ľngli store. Anyone care to join us?


  1. What a fun, great idea. I love that. I want to do that with my husband. We'll totally join you in Switzerland.

  2. Oh save me a seat at that taste-testing table! I love dark chocolate, too. Something about it just makes it a favorite delicacy. What a nice time with your daughter, good fun :)

  3. What a fabulous thing to do! I'm gonna have to give that a try with my munchkin. There's a chocolate shop about a mile from the house. I'll sample chocolate anywhere!

  4. That sounds like fun! I'm trying to avoid chocolate at the moment in an effort to fit back into my trousers.

  5. Oh, now THAT sounds like a fabulous mother-daughter bonding experience. I'm loving the rating can tell this was a serious experiment.

    Gee. The last thing Connor and I taste-tested was bottled water. Your idea sounds much tastier.

  6. I think Professional Chocolate Critic would be among my top five ultimate professions. ;) Great post!

  7. Oh what a great way to spend a rainy Saturday! As much as I love chocolate though, I am rather particular - Cadbury's anything generally rocks (as long as it is milk chocolate), Green & Black's choc also rocks (as long as it is milk chocolate), and expensive plush chocs also rock (as long as they are... you get the idea!)

  8. There's a Kilwin's close to me. Perhaps I'll drop by.