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”.
Madeline and I love working together in the Chocology Test Kitchen. A little of this and a little of that (that’s how my mom taught me) and voila! New flavors emerge.
Recently, we decided to add mint to our famous, award winning Fat Ass Fudge. After tinkering with it for a bit, we decided to take it to the people. We packaged and loaded it up and handed out lots of samples at the Port Jefferson Winter Farmers Market.
After 3-weeks of customer input... Whoa, what a success! The response was overwhelming. And since we are all about the customer, we will be adding Fat Ass Fudge Chocolate Mint flavor to our product line. (a hint of chocolate at the end) We just love it when our tinkering in the kitchen delights and pleases our customers. Our mission is to continue working with our customers to bring new flavors that please the palate and delight young and old alike.
In addition, we have developed another fudge flavor that will compliment the summer months that are soon to be upon us. Our cHarissa (23 Moroccan spices) fudge is spicy and chocolaty, the cHarissa blends into our chocolate and is all wrapped into one awesome fudge delight. Chocolate with a kick at the end, just enough kick to keep you going back for more.
cHarissa Spice, is a wildly popular spicy condiment developed by a local Long Islander, in honor of his late wife. We started out last summer by pairing this spice with our patrons at the Farmer’s Market. When we took it to the test kitchen and added it to the fudge, we came up with a most pleasing spicy taste that everyone loved.
We are super excited to unveil these two new flavors on our website. We’d love to hear your feedback. Which do you like best? Chocolate minty fudge or cHarissa spiced fudge? We look forward to having you try these new flavors and are excited to continue our work in the test kitchen to develop new and unusual flavor combinations that suit a variety of tastes and preferences.
Here’s to tinkering, chocolate and inventing new flavors!
~The Chocology Team
We’ve learned so much about chocolate since embarking on our Chocology journey. Everything we learn, of course, enhances our chocolate products. But we also love sharing what we learn with you, our customers.
About a year and a half ago, we shared some terms we were learning about chocolate in our chocolatier course. Since then, we’ve learned a whole lot more.
We thought it fitting to pass that knowledge on to you! Ever heard the word “bloom” when referring to chocolate? How about “Couverture” or “Theobromine”? Read on to learn more about one of the world’s favorite foods. . .Chocolate!
CHOCOLATE COVERED GLOSSARY
Also called fat bloom—A dull, white film appearing on the surface of chocolate. This is either due to re-crystallised sugar, caused by excess humidity, or fat caused by temperature fluctuations. Neither of these have much affect on the taste.
Chocolate is the product that is made from the roasted seeds of cocoa pods. The seeds are ground and processed into either liquid or solid forms and then mixed with sugar, vanilla, lecithin and other flavorings to form ‘chocolate’. Having been consumed in liquid form for thousands of years, it has only been eaten in solid forms since 1847.
Chocolate containing at least 32% cocoa butter. The high cocoa butter content can make the chocolate taste better in your mouth (more about that later) and produce a more satiny finish for a beautiful chocolate. Couverture comes from the French word couvrir - to coat or cover and is pronounced koo-vehr-TYOOR. Sometimes referred to as fondant chocolate.
The thin, hard covering of an enrobed bonbon. This is the term used to describe the method of coating hand-formed or moulded interiors, with a thin coat of chocolate.
A smooth combination of chocolate and cream or butter, or both. Ganache has many uses, and forms the essential foundation for chocolate truffles, where it is combined with anything from liqueurs, nuts or fruits to spices or herbs.
A natural product derived from the soybean that acts as an emulsifier in the manufacture of chocolate.
A sweet paste made from a combination of finely ground almonds, sugar and egg whites. Marzipan can be flavored and is often colored to produce traditional ‘marzipan fruits’.
Contains at least 10% chocolate liquor. Other ingredients include sugar, lecithin, milk or cream powder, and spices such as vanilla
This is the first step in producing chocolate from cocoa beans. The heating process, typically around 30 minutes, develops the flavor and aroma of the cocoa beans before they are ground.
The clean crisp sound made when chocolate is broken. A clean ‘snap’ indicates a high cocoa content and a well tempered chocolate.
The scientific name for the cocoa tree. The tree that produces the cacao pod (cabosse) with its cocoa beans (seeds) inside. A combination of the ancient Greek word ‘theobroma’ meaning ‘food of the gods’ and the old Aztec word ‘cacahuatl’ which the Spanish invaders called ‘cocoa’.
Theobromine, along with caffeine, is a stimulant and one of the many compounds that are found in chocolate.
We hope you learned something about chocolate this week! Be sure to check back with us next week to see what we have cooking up for Easter!
~ The Chocology Team
This week, Chocology is celebrating over 900 subscribers to our Chocology Today blog! Thank YOU for being a part of the Chocology family. We value our subscribers and we are committed to and love the study of chocolate – extending that love and knowledge to you in a new and exciting ways is our passion.
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Whether you like, follow, subscribe, tweet or linkIn ~ we’re happy to have you on this journey with us. We also love hearing from YOU! Be sure to comment or tweet with us out in cyberspace! Your stories inspire us and keep us excited about all things chocolate. Hope to see you on social media soon!
~ The Chocology Team