What does is mean to be a sensualist?
If you are thinking about your genitals I encourage you to move a bit higher up your body. For me it has probably always begun with my mouth. Before your mind goes to sex (that part comes later) let’s first talk about our senses and how they inform how we experience pleasure.
Sensualism involves sex and our sexuality, of course, but in its most basic definition we are talking about our senses and being able to revel in them: touch, smell, taste, sound and sight. With chocolate we can appreciate the shiny surface of a fancy bonbon that cracks crisply between our teeth, the heady aroma, the flavors of cocoa flooding our mouth, the meltingly smooth texture. But really, how often during the day do we take the time to truly experience what our senses are telling us? And when it comes to chocolate, have you ever really thoughtfully deconstructed all that it has to tell you?
Let’s talk about my mouth for a moment. I have always loved food. All kinds of food. How it tastes, how it smells, how it feels in my mouth. My parents were adventurous eaters and for the 60s and 70s our household was unusual. My father spoke more than half a dozen languages and traveled extensively. He would return from Indonesia with six different sambals for us to try – and this was before most Americans even knew what this chile condiment was. He would cook us authentic Italian and Chinese food. When my schoolmates were eating peanut butter and tuna fish sandwiches, I had an assortment of French bread and cheeses, cornichon and charcuterie (this was actually a pain in the ass, but that’s another story. Head cheese anyone?) We would travel to all of the ethnic neighborhoods of the greater metropolitan area of Manhattan for unusual herbs, spices and ingredients that the supermarket just didn’t have. Although I didn’t know it, my palate was being expanded and educated throughout my young life in a very organic way. The fact that I ended up making a living writing cookbooks, talking about food and developing recipes shouldn’t have surprised anybody.
And of all the foods, for me, chocolate reigns supreme. The darker the better. I simply love it. Almost 30 years ago I attended a professional culinary conference and a very well known chocolatier conducted a chocolate tasting that I was lucky enough to attend. Fast-forward to 2016 and I have now created a chocolate tasting syllabus that I have been teaching for well over a decade.
Have You Ever Tasted Chocolate? No, Seriously…
Now you might be saying, why do I need to be taught how to taste chocolate? And I would say, I bet you have never truly tasted chocolate before in all its glory. It’s like any other way you use your mouth. Are you just putting something in it mindlessly? Or thoughtlessly sucking on something without being open to all the tactile sensations and tasty bits flooding your mouth and nose?
After bringing my chocolate tasting to chefs and lay people alike I had the opportunity to present the class within two different kinky venues: at The Lake House and at La Domaine Esemar. One was a group of 6, the other around 20. At the Lake House I blindfolded the tasters; eyes were wide open at La Domaine. But let me tell you, that after the chocolate was consumed, after our senses were aroused, each event ended in an incredibly sexy and sensual evening.
This didn’t surprise me. Think about a group of people all focused on extracting as much enjoyment as possible from placing something in their mouths that possibly tastes better than anything they have ever experienced. Now, if you would like to have me come present my class to your family for a party, at your office for team building or know a local library that might like to host me, let me know. It is almost 2 hours of the most fun, educational class you will ever take. I will teach you about cacao growing, harvesting, production and chocolate creation. An exciting visual trip of how the bean becomes a bar, then we move on to the tasting.
Here is a mini tutorial for you to try the at home, focusing on the fun part – the TASTING!
Choose Your Chocolates
Assemble some chocolate, about 1/4 ounce per person for each chocolate. For your first tasting choose maybe 6 chocolates. I usually present an array of semisweet and bittersweet ranging in cacao percentage from 50 to 100%. Look at labels before you buy. They should list cacao mass, sugar, cacao butter and possibly lecithin and pure vanilla extract or beans. (Leave flavored chocolates for another time). Cocoa butter, the natural fat in cacao, will be the only fat listed in superior chocolates. If you see any kind of oil on the ingredient label – soy, cottonseed, palm oil etc. – then that product is what the FDA refers to as chocolate coating (not a true chocolate). One caveat: sometimes I add one of these faux chocolates in the lineup for comparison purposes (such as Plymouth Pantry Almond Bark Chocolate Flavored Coating found at WalMart). For your other chocolates you can look locally at specialty stores or even Whole Foods if you have one in your area. For online sources check out Chocosphere.com. Have the chocolates cut into small 1/4 ounce pieces. You want plain, solid chocolates; no flavors, truffles or filled bon-bons. Place the pieces on pieces of white paper so that you can see the various shades of brown most effectively.
Look, Smell, Then Taste!
The colors might surprise you. It is said we eat first with our eyes and our vision is an important sense for assessing information. Are the chocolates brown, (and what brown?) reddish, purplish or almost black? Then bring one chocolate to your nose and inhale. There will be a smell, but what is it? And how does it affect you? Does it start faint and build? Does it hit you over the head with a powerhouse aroma right away? Does the aroma remind you of cocoa or maybe you smell coconut or toast? This doesn’t mean that there is any coconut in the bar (you know this because you read the labels) but the experience of chocolate aroma and flavor is very similar to when we taste wine or coffee. We use verbiage such as “tastes grassy” or “smells burnt”. None of these descriptors is wrong or necessarily bad. They are just what we perceive. Try to keep your mind open about what you are experiencing. Allow yourself to use whatever words come to mind to describe what you are experiencing.
Now place the chocolate in your mouth and resist biting it. Press the piece to the roof of your mouth and allow your body temperature to warm up the chocolate. Cocoa butter melts at body temperature, which is one main reason why high quality chocolate with a high cocoa butter content feels so luxurious in your mouth. You can hasten the melting by gliding your tongue over the chocolate. What do you sense? Chocolate often has layers of flavor. See if you can articulate a flavor at the beginning of your tasting experience, another wave of flavor in the middle and perhaps a third flavor profile towards the end. Some chocolates build in intensity. Others come out of the gate with a bang and fade quickly. Others linger on the palate for quite some time. Study the flavor wheel above. Do you taste “berries”? If you do, can you go further and articulate whether the taste is more blueberry or raspberry?
Feel the Chocolate
Closely associated with aroma and flavor is texture. While the chocolate is in your mouth you will most certainly be having a textural experience. Some chocolate is smooth, others are more rustic and gritty. Again, neither is better than another; the idea is to just allow your senses to sense! Some chocolates will melt quite quickly on your palate and disappear like brown silky liquid down your throat. Others will feel thick(er) and perhaps even paste-y and hang out in your mouth in a lump (like that chocolate coating).
Some of your ability to truly taste chocolate will come simply from being quiet, opening your mind and paying attention to detail. Tasting chocolates side by side can also help by highlighting very different flavor profiles.
No Judgment Zone
In the end, the chocolate you think is “best” is the one you like! Conducting this tasting in a group is fun because you can compare and contrast your sensual experiences, which makes for some stimulating conversation.
Now back to the sex. In both kinky venues we ended the night with hours of sexy fun. Everyone’s senses were heightened – simply from paying attention to them! Of course it helps that chocolate actually does have “feel good” chemicals as well that mimic our own dopamine and adrenaline, providing a slight antidepressant effect and also has been shown to increase serotonin. At The Lake House we segued into a quite unplanned multi-hour play session with all the ladies taking turns either getting covered with wax or food (whipped cream, chocolate sauce…) with orgasms all around. At La Domaine Esemar the tasting came before a scheduled play party, but Master R and Miss Couple told us that they had never seen a party ramp up so quickly or intensely and we all knew that the chocolate experience was the key.
So in closing, we encourage you to go use your mouth – and all your other senses – in ways that perhaps you never have before. Buy some quality chocolate, set aside some time and conduct your own tasting with a chosen loved one, a sexy partner or a group. And then let us know about your experience…
For more information or to gush about chocolate, contact beauty through her Fetlife profile.