Unraveling the taste of chocolate: Barry Callebaut introduces sensory language

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30 Jan 2018 --- Barry Callebaut has introduced a sensory language and tasting ritual that will help chocolate professionals and consumers to understand and express the richness of chocolate taste. Cocoa and chocolate sensory scientists from Barry Callebaut and Givaudan did extensive research to develop a chocolate sensory language and tasting ritual, inspired by what has already been created for wine, coffee and craft beer categories. The chocolate sensory language finds its foundation in the book ‘Hidden Persuaders in Cocoa and Chocolate. "A Flavor Lexicon for Cocoa and Chocolate Sensory Professionals’" has been presented this week at the ISM fair in Cologne, Germany.

Pablo Perversi, Chief Innovation, Quality & Sustainability Officer of the Barry Callebaut Group says: “More and more consumers, and especially millennial foodies, share their experiences on social media. They are increasingly curious about food and taste. But while wine, coffee and craft beer could already be tasted, described and discussed in a rigorous and professional way, we lacked a language that did justice to the richness and complexity of chocolate experiences. Containing over 20,000 identifiable chemical compounds, cocoa is one of the most complex foodstuffs on earth. The sensory language that we have developed for chocolate, will allow consumers to share their passion for a specific chocolate taste much more accurately.”


Click to EnlargeBarry Callebaut's Chocolate Sensory Wheel
Barry Callebaut developed the Consumer Chocolate Sensory Wheel with 87 descriptors, covering the flavor, texture and aroma of chocolate.

 

Pairing cocoa and chocolate sensory research with consumer understanding, Barry Callebaut developed the Consumer Chocolate Sensory Wheel with 87 descriptors, covering the flavor, texture and aroma of chocolate. A Chocolate Tasting Ritual requires the five senses - sight, touch, hearing, smell and taste – and enables chocolate professionals and consumers to discover new dimensions of chocolate experience and appreciate chocolate even more.

 

The science behind the unraveling of the taste of chocolate
The book "Hidden Persuaders in Cocoa and Chocolate. A Flavor Lexicon for Cocoa and Chocolate Sensory Professionals" is the first science-based publication on how to create a sensory language for the chocolate industry. Cocoa and chocolate sensory scientists worked for two years on this chocolate language. The book features molecular insights into the compounds related to each flavor you can find in chocolate and contains a science-based categorization of taste, various aromas, as well as trigeminal sensations – such as the coolness of mint or the tingling of sparkling water – and atypical flavors.


Renata Januszewska, the author of the book and Global R&D Sensory Methodologies Manager at Barry Callebaut, says: “The book’s ambition is to help to switch from an often ‘subconscious/emotional’ to a more ‘conscious/analytical’ approach in the complex world of cocoa and chocolate. Having a shared language will not only enable brands to discuss their chocolate with consumers and describe its uniqueness to them, it will also offer them the means to come up with even better tasting experiences and new taste and food pairing combinations.”

Click to Enlarge
Renata Januszewska, the author of the book and
Global R&D Sensory Methodologies Manager at Barry Callebaut


FoodIngredientsFirst caught up with Januszewska in Cologne at the launch event, who noted: “I think this book was necessary for the whole sector of the cocoa and chocolate, it is our initiative and it’s based on science. We wanted to highlight the knowledge so that it was known in the industry, we have an internal need to use this type of language in our work and we have a very sophisticated program of panelists, so we needed this tool to be able to all be on one page.”


“This was an attempt to harmonize this kind of language internally and also give it to others if they wanted to use it.”


“We already had a selection of 40 different descriptors, but you can always represent everything, our language was not simplistic but in this way now we have a very compressive picture and more possibilities to choose from. 105 may be a lot, but it covers all possibilities of chocolate language and taste.”


When asked about what the language was based on – Januszewska revealed that it was solely based on the flavors of chocolate. She also hinted at the possibility texture language and confirmed it was something the company was working on for the future.


“The partnership with Givaudan was helpful,” she added, “More minds and having internal specialists, means that together we were able to give a better picture of language.”


You can listen to the full podcast interview with Januszewska here.


By Elizabeth Green