This very funny little diatribe comes to us by way of reader Lee in San Francisco:
Help us, Joe! Help save chocolate from certain death at the hands of the FPs….the Food Pedants who turn simple physical pleasures into ostentatious vocabulary exercises. You can’t go two days in some parts of the foodie world without coming upon instructions for a “chocolate tasting” exercise, where you nibble on tiny pieces of the dark stuff and then start trying to one-up the person next to you with talk of the “notes” of “leather” or “tobacco” or “moss.” (By the way, what do you use to cleanse the palate in between chocolate bites….donuts?) We are not amused by their presumption; the only people who should be concerning themselves with this level of choco-linguistic precision are those in the employ of Valrhona or Callebaut. The rest of us should be happy with terms no more technical than “yummy” or “great!”
Helping save chocolate wasn’t exactly on my list of to-do’s for this week, but I’ll just dive on in and say: well said, fellow crank! I couldn’t agree more. I myself have bristled at the way wine terminology has steadily crept into the world of chocolate the last few years. Among them terms like “vintage” and “grand cru” which may be technically descriptive, but when applied to chocolate nevertheless emit an obnoxious odeur of haughtiness. Chocolate, for all its glories, isn’t wine — not that I endorse that sort of high-flautin’ snobbery among wine lovers, either. It reminds me of all the hubbub around olive oils a decade or so ago. Remember that? When all those olive oil “tasting bars” were popping up in gourmet supermarkets? Brother, did that ever get under my skin.
Oopsie…I’m ranting. Why didn’t one of you out there stop me? You know how much hate mail I get when I do that. Even now I can feel it speeding toward me…gotta go!
UPDATE: Cranky Lee adds:
Your forgot to add salt to the list of things that are no longer for “eating” but instead for “tasting.”