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Impact of the shape on sensory properties of individual dark chocolate pieces

The sensory characteristics of dark chocolate have been studied for many years and to date, its oral perception has been modulated only by playing on conventional factors (e.g. processing, particles size, ingredients or recipe).
Researchers from Nestle Research Center of Lausanne, Switzerland, carried out a study aims at enhancing the in-mouth perception of chocolate based on the shape of the chocolate piece introduced in the mouth. The results were published on LWT – Food Science and Technology, vol. 51, issue 2, May 2013.
Ten chocolate shapes with the same recipe were moulded into designs based on the palate geometry of young adult women. Sensory test conditions were restricted so that trained subjects did not bite into the chocolate shapes during the evaluation. Texture andflavour properties of the different shapes were measured through monadic profiling. Further, timeintensity was used to characterise the potential link between cocoa perception and the perceived melting.
Sensory profiling highlighted significant differences among the shapes on the characteristics of melting, smoothness and smaller but significant differences on cocoa, caramel and aftertaste. Melting perception was not correlated with flavour intensity. The timeintensity measurements performed on cocoa intensity confirmed the differences observed with monadic profiling. Thus, the shape of dark chocolate pieces does impact texture and flavour perceptions. In addition, contrary to our initial hypothesis, in-mouth melting is not the sole factor influencing the cocoa flavour intensity.

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