October 10th 2020
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Week 20- Chocolate Flavours
T for Tasting
Tasting is a complex but very rewarding process – if you train your senses, you will see an improvement in your ability to recognise or describe a flavour or pair it with other food. In our case, with chocolate…
Our tastebuds, hidden under our papillae which cover our tongue, are the receptors for the 5 main flavours: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami.
In order to taste, we will use all of our senses, as well as our memory in order to remind us of the flavours we have tried before, or to discover a new one!
For that, our sense of smell plays an important role in enhancing flavours or triggering our memory to remind us of a specific flavour or an experience such as baking, family time or holidays.
On a more subtle level, there are a huge number of tasting notes in chocolate – have a look at our wheel of flavours below to give you an idea of the primary flavours (on the inside circle); these flavours can be very obvious or reveal themselves slowly as you let them develop in your mouth while the chocolate is melting. It will take practise to recognise the secondary flavours (on the outside circle).
Taste is also about texture: is it smooth, creamy, oily, gritty, velvety, or chewy? How it feels can really determine the taste; is it hot or cold, hard or soft, sticky or slippery, or even grainy?
We will have a little experiment today and compare at least two or more different chocolate bars, with a different cocoa percentage, or from different countries of origin, milk or dark – as you prefer, and plain without any flavours or any extra ingredients such as dry fruit, nuts or salt. Look at the ingredients on the back and make sure you are not allergic or intolerant to any of them, and that it fits any dietary requirements you may have.
PS. Our tastebuds don’t only tell us if it’s good, they also tell us if it’s bad, and can protect us from spoiled food or poison.
Due to recent events (COVID-19), we have seen our sense of both smell and taste changing for some, or becoming week before coming back slowly, or unfortunately for some people, not at all.
We hope you enjoyed and that you will begin to practise and think about this method every time you try a new chocolate, or any food at all. This way, you could maybe make it your profession one day, or simply one of your everyday pleasurable moments.
We thank you for your participation,
Programme in partnership with Melange Chocolate
"The True history of Chocolate" Thames & Hudson
"Encyclopedie du chocolate et de la confiserie" AFCC
"Collecting the World: The Life and Curiosity of Hans Sloane" by James Delbourgo
"Chocolate Wars" by Deborah Cadbury
"The Secret Life of Chocolate" by Marcos Patchett