Did you know that we don’t taste things solely with our taste buds? We actually taste everything with our brain.
So how does this work? From about the age of 3, people have evolved to use more than their taste buds to know whether something is okay to eat or not. Sight, smell, texture (touch) and even hearing all contribute to why we prefer certain foods over others.
Linda is taking another Ecole Chocolat class and is currently studying the taste buds. This week’s assignment is to consciously taste four different chocolates. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it! We love tasting, reading and exploring more about chocolate. Educating ourselves about how taste and flavor work and how we experience the things we eat helps the Chocology team to understand the flavors in our products and make them better.
The class is entitled, Mastering Chocolate Flavor, something we strive to do every day. Our mission is to create flavors that please the senses, not just the taste buds, so that our products are more of an experience rather than just another dessert. Read on to learn more about how all of the senses are engaged when we participate in the act of eating.
Flavor is ALL in your head! Did you know that? All of the senses work together, providing information to your brain. Your brain then determines if something taste good or not. We generally believe that tastes happen on our taste buds. But much more is going on, most of it in the brain.
The eyes have it! If it doesn’t look good, the likelihood of you eating it is very low. Even if an unsightly food IS eaten, the overall taste is affected. Tasting starts with the eyes.
One study by Jeff Shrank was particularly intriguing to us. For instance, when tomato juice was poured into a container marked “blood”, participants were no longer willing to even taste it. Why? Because the eyes saw the word blood and the association of blood and tasting were triggered in the brain. Participants weren’t willing to try it, even though they usually liked tomato juice.
Have you ever heard the term “Follow your Nose?” Well, according to Kids Health, “Olfactory (ahl-FAK-tuh-ree) receptors inside the uppermost part of the nose contain special cells that help you smell. They send messages to the brain.”
When we put a piece of food into our mouths, chemicals are released into the olfactory receptors and tell the brain all about what we are eating. Taste and smell work together to tell a story about the flavor that is happening inside of your mouth! Then your brain decides if you like it or not.
Are peppers really hot? According to Jeff Shrank they are not!
The texture of our foods make a difference in what we taste too! Ever had a limp potato chip? The taste of our potato chips and French fries are definitely affected by their texture. People tend to judge a potato chip as “fresh” if it is light and crispy. That’s a judgment call based on our brain’s past experiences and judgments. The crunch makes all the difference!
Chocolate needs the correct amount of snap for most people to believe it has quality.
Even the packaging on potato chips or crackers suggests a certain amount of crunchiness! In a test by Jeff Shrank, people that wanted crunchy chips chose the noisier bags over the softer paper bags of chips.
Humans have around ten thousand taste buds and even those are replaced every couple of weeks. Sweet, sour, salty, bitter and savory are the major receptors that allow you to experience taste. Children have more and adults tend to lose some over time. And as we build experience and memories about tastes, our taste preferences are influence by those as well.
We taste our beliefs and expectations and our senses help us along the way. Chocolate covered ants are a delicacy in some places around the world, but for most Americans, just the thought of eating an ant is repulsive, even if it is enrobed in our favorite chocolate. Working together, the senses, along with our perceptions of what is good or not so good, communicate a story to our brain about the foods we are attracted to. Our tastes really are all in our heads! Be sure to check out Jeff Shrank’s slideshow entitled, “Taste: Your Brain on Food”.
After a month of cross-country travel, Madeline and I arrived home Friday May 15, having driven a total of 8,001 miles since our departure on April 17th. We had so much fun driving through so many states and witnessing the beauty of this amazing country of ours. Reconnecting with friends and family and making new friends along the way was such a joy! Although we discovered that we feel at “home” wherever we are, it was nice to pull into Port Jefferson and relinquish the car keys for a while. It's really is nice to be home.
Just because we’re home doesn’t mean our busy schedule ends though. We’re moving onward and forward on our chocolate mission and of course we want you to come along with us!
With treats in hand, Chocology made it’s debut at the Port Jefferson Farmer’s Market on Sunday offering our Fat-Ass fudge to market goers. We shared time and space with lots of local Long Island vendors and met so many wonderful people, families and even pets!
In addition, today we’re into our test kitchen and off to our Commercial Kitchen on Thursday trying out a variety of new fudge flavors. We got so many suggestions on the road and couldn’t wait to get back and test them out. We’ve discovered that taste varies, depending on what part of the country you live in. Here’s a smattering of possibilities:
And finally, we will be adding another fundraiser to our Chocology Gives Back lineup.
How is this organization changing the world?
Families exploring the fun and interactive hands-on exhibits at the Maritime Explorium at Port Jeff Harbor will enjoy the excitement of scientific discovery, develop a broadened cultural awareness and experience a sense of artistry while learning about Long Island’s rich and varied maritime heritage.
From now until December 20th every Fat Ass Fudge order that you place using the code EXPLORIUM, Chocology will donate $1.00 ($2 for every order of $50 or more) to help this organization empower and enrich the lives of our youth.
We’re excited to be home safely and ready to jump right in to more chocolate adventures! Won’t you help us spread the chocolate love? Share this post on Facebook and Twitter with friends and family so that they too can be a part of the Chocology family!
Cheer's to being Home Sweet Home. . .
~The Chocology Team
San Francisco, California
We left New York on April 17th with 8,004 miles ahead of us. Madeline and I plan to return to home base by May 17th - putting us currently at the half way mark of our Chocology Gives back cross-country extravaganza. Madeline and I are in absolute awe of this great country we live in, especially of the people we meet along the way!
We have a system. I drive – Madeline navigates. Being in the car together for long stretches of time has given us lots of opportunity for deep philosophical conversations. Besides solving all of the world’s difficulties, Madeline and I have decided that we’re not just New Yorkers, were citizens of America! Home is where we land each day and the people we meet are family. What an honor it is for us to work with people across America who make a difference in the world by giving back!
Besides working with some awesome organizations, we’ve had the chance to visit with friends and family and do lots of chocolate tastings along the way.
So. . . who have we visited and what have we been up to besides driving? Well, helping causes, sharing our Give-Back philosophy and passing out chocolate of course! It's been a really great adventure so far, here's a sampling of where we’ve been:
Back on My Feet In Philadelphia
Short visit with friends in Atlanta and Texas
Booked two wedding while in Texas
Homeschooling Conference in Texas
Interviewed the Director of Corporate Citizenship at Disney in Anaheim
Brought some messy Chocolate fun to the Boys and Girls club in Anaheim
Visited Madeline’s 2011 CNN Hero - Chef Bruno
Met with RoadTrip Nation in Costa Mesa
Homeschooling Event in California
A smattering of visits to family and friends
We'll share all of our adventures with each of these wonderful people and organizations when we get back, so stay tuned.
Our mom’s are so special. They pamper us, are always there for us and love us more than anyone else in the world. No wonder we have a special day set aside to honor these special women in our lives.
Mother’s Day is May 10th this year. What do you have planned for your mom? Breakfast in bed? Or perhaps you’ve made reservations at a plush restaurant? However you choose to indulge your mom this year ~ remember the chocolate!
All mothers love chocolate. Our Mother’s Day collection will melt the hearts of all the women in your life. Beautiful handcrafted truffles or mouthwatering fudge will cure any woman’s chocolate craving. Nothing says “I appreciate you” more than a box of deluxe chocolates.
Want to consider purchasing a gift that keeps on giving? Our Chocology Chocolate Lovers Club is the perfect gift giving choice this Mothers Day. With this gift, you remind your mom month after month of how much she means to you.
Your mom will receive a box of fresh chocolate once a month for 3, 6 or 9 months depending on the depths of her cravings. Each box comes with our signature card on How to Eat Chocolate Mindfully and is delivered right to her front door. Imagine mom’s smile every time she receives this gift. Everyday becomes Mother’s Day with our Chocolate Lovers Club.
However you choose to give to your mom this Mother’s Day, Chocology wishes you and your mom a spectacular day celebrating the most important job in the world ~ being a mom.