While most everyone has been to or at least heard of a wine tasting, few people host tasting parties of any other kind. This is a shame, as they can be some of the most fun and interesting parties to both attend and throw. There are a few easy steps to follow.
Step one: Choose a food or drink that has some variety to it: different types of fruit (apples or mangos are personal favorites), chocolate, coffee, tea, honey, olive oil, vinegar, cheese or even vodka are all simple yet interesting choices.
Step two: Select an assortment of 4-6 items with different characteristics. A range of light to dark chocolates, assorted varieties of cheese.
Step three: Make tasting cards. Create cards with check boxes where attendees can check of characteristics of what they are tasting. Is the cheese runny or firm? Is the mango citrusy or spicy? Leave room for additional notes and comments.
Step four: Arrange the food and drink. Disposable toothpicks and tiny sipping cups are a perfect ways to distribute the food or drink. Label the food (or don’t and have a blind tasting). Set out plenty water and plain bread to cleanse the palate. Provide writing utensils for the tasting cards.
Step five: Taste and discuss.
The Chocolate Manufacturers Association has a complete chocolate tasting guide available for download
Some tips on how to serve cheese
for a tasting or dinner party.
There are some good tips in this guide to tasting parties, Tasting Club