The Reason You Should Smell Your Chocolate Before Eating It

Chocolate has been around for at least 2000 years, maybe longer according to some experts, but regardless of when this highly valued and beloved product was discovered, one thing is for certain... people love to eat chocolate. 

However, did you know that chocolate was a drink before it was ever a bar or perfectly shaped and flavored truffle? For 90 percent of chocolate's history, people actually drank it and — wait for it — did so without sugar. In fact, a group of anthropologists from the University of Pennsylvania discovered an artifact a few years back that had some traces of cacao fruit still on it. They analyzed the remnants of the bean and found it was fermented into some sort of alcoholic beverage (via Smithsonian Magazine). 

Today, chocolate sales total $7 billion with the United States consuming 2.8 billion pounds of the decadent treat annually. And why not? Ten percent of our daily recommended allowance of iron can be found in baking chocolate or cocoa (via The Chocolate Store).

But it may surprise you to learn that, according to chocolate connoisseurs, you've been eating your chocolate all wrong. Turns out, chocolate is a food you should actually inhale. No, seriously. Chocolate should be sniffed similar to sniffing a glass of wine before you take a sip, because when you do so, you are preparing your brain and all of your senses for the experience. The same can be said for taking that first bite of chocolate (via Delish).

How to eat chocolate like a pro

So what is the correct manner in which to eat chocolate? Chocolate lovers, take note. Chocolate maker Ghirardelli concedes there is not necessarily a wrong or right way to eat chocolate, but they do say that if you follow some simple steps before you savagely devour your bonbons and chocolate bars, your tasting experience can be greatly intensified. Many chocolatiers recommend, first, rubbing the chocolate between your fingers, not so it melts in your hands, but rather to release the smells that are trapped in the candy. Then take a deep breath, and smell it. Take it all in. 

Different variations of the confection give off different smells. Milk chocolate is said to release the essence of cream and caramel while dark chocolate can whip up smells of nuts, wine, fruit, salt, or a whole host of other aromas. And just like at a wine tasting, you might taste something different from that of a fellow chocolate buddy (via Ghiradelli).

But, before you take a bite, Barry Callebaut recommends pinching your nose and then chomping or biting into your chocolate delight. You should feel it melting in your mouth before you release your nose, and from there, you should experience a flood of flavors similar to what you smelled. This definitely sounds like a lot of work to amplify the taste of an already incredible, wonderful tasting sweet, but it could also be the best chocolate experience ever.