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Chocolate, a sensory experience

Texture, shine, flavor, smell… In the new episode of the Alimentació Sostenible podcast, we talk about chocolate as a sensory pleasure in every sense. Learn to enjoy it like an expert!

Chocolate, a sensory experience


EFE/American Museum of Natural History

An unknown world, but essential to be able to enjoy it: Do you know how to evaluate whether the attributes of a tablet meet or not what was expected? Want to learn how to do it? Join the sensory adventure that chocolate can bring!

From the hand of Aina Martínez, specialist in sensory analysis at Nestlé España, we approach the world of chocolate tasting. A world that has a whole science behind it, literally.

What is the sensory analysis of chocolate?

The Nestlé expert explains that to guarantee the quality of the chocolate, a whole process is carried out that starts with the sensory analysis. But, What is this?

“It is the science that allows us to objectively measure the organoleptic characteristics of food”, he says.

The method used for this is none other than the use of five senses. But that’s not the point: In addition to years of trainingthe professional cannot eat, smoke or use perfume when tasting the food.

Similarly, they cannot try more than five products the same day and, to do so, they have to intersperse them with something that clean your mouththat is to say, that it removes the flavor of the previous one (either water, chamomile, bread without salt…).

As if that wasn’t enough, the process also has to be done in some lighting and ventilation conditions very specific, all to ensure that nothing conditions the sensory analysis of the product.

Why is it important?

The sensory quality it is the differentiating factor of a product, the reason why the consumer decides to buy again. In each food there are key attributes that will determine consumer preference. An example is:

  • Overall intensity of smell and taste. Something we notice with our sense of smell and taste.
  • view. It gives us a hint of what we will try and creates expectations.

But ultimately, always it will depend on the type of product. So, for example, if we talk about cocoa solubleone of the attributes that will be analyzed is the quickness or the ease with which it is dissolve in the milk Which, in the case of a chocolate tile, is not contemplated.

Signs of quality in chocolate

Would you be able to distinguish the characteristics indicative of quality in chocolate? Aina Martínez explains the main ones:

  • Shining: indicates that it has been properly tempered.
  • Let it be smooth: the sugars have been properly compacted during their preparation.
chocolate-sensory-experience
EFE/ Rayner Peña R.

What is this white film we sometimes see on chocolate?

It is clear that sometimes, despite having observed these qualities in the first instance, with the passage of time we notice that a kind of white film on our tablet: What is it? Does that say anything about its quality? Should we throw it away?

The so-called “fat bloom” or bleaching by fat is one of the most common problems faced by chocolate specialists and is related to yours conservation.

And the product is very sensitive to heat or humidity, so keep them conditions (also at home) is essential. If we leave the tablet wrapper open or we subject it to important temperature changesthese white spots appear.

Mind you, it’s not something harmful: it is still a safe food but its appearance and organoleptic qualities are not the same.

Everything has an order

The Nestlé expert indicates that there is a whole process to tasting and, with that, evaluating chocolate.

  • appearance. The color, brightness, thickness, quantity, size of the nuts (if any) are evaluated.
  • smell. In order to have a first impression of the chocolate.
  • Tasting. The smell and taste are evaluated: its intensity, sweetness, bitterness, if it is salty, acidic, fruity.
  • texture. To evaluate the texture (the creaminess, the melting degree, the particles in the mouth, the crunchy degree), we start from the touch and the ear.

It’s a sensory experience with a whole science behind it and knowing it only invites us to want to know more.

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