The Chocolate Cult: What is Perfect Chocolate?

Photo Information at Dnd of Post

What makes a chocolate perfect?

I bet if ten of you wrote your opinion in the comments (please do), we’d see at least a handful of different answers.

So when this article popped up about a Dutch physicists discovering the best type of chocolate, I was intrigued. Let’s look at the Smithsonian write up about that study as well as the study itself.

Let me lay out my reactions to this study, then I want to read your comments, too.

The scientists used 72 percent chocolate which automatically limits the answer to the question: What is the perfect chocolate? Numerous polls and economic tracking shows that time and again, consumers prefer milk chocolate, though what counts as milk chocolate varies from culture to culture. For example, EU regulations require more chocolate mass than USA rules making European milk chocolate taste ‘darker’ by comparison. It seems that the use of this percentage was based on the fact that the study was going to use a 3D printer to make chocolate in different shapes and the higher chocolate mass content make it more stable for that printing.

Initially, shape seemed to be more what is being tested than taste, scent, or even look of the chocolate. While we would agree that all five senses are important to the enjoyment of chocolate, is shape the most important? If you make the time to read the published study itself, that isn’t easy to do, shape isn’t key here but mouthfeel is. We know that how chocolate feels important. It also affects how tastebuds interact with food/beverage and that impacts the flavors as well.

How chocolate breaks and how easy it breaks is something we write about here on The Chocolate Cult. The fact that the scientists were interested in that, too, is reassuring that our approach is valid when we test chocolate. The breaking, the number of pieces and the sound it makes when you bite or chew, are important factors to the enjoyment of chocolate we’ve found. They also can indicate the overall pleasure our testers end up giving a chocolate. Given how many taste buds will interact with chocolate when it breaks into multiple pieces, it makes sense to me that participants would get more pleasure from multiple pieces as well as sense more complexity in the chocolate.

The number of folks used to consume the 3D printed chocolate though was small, only 10. I would like to see this study repeated for a much larger number and also across culture and age groups before any type of chocolate is declared “perfect.”

What this study really discovers is that crunch and the number of pieces a 72 percent chocolate breaks into affects the enjoyment of some consumer. What gives the most crunch and most pieces is the shape, more complex the better.

Does this mean that in the future handmade chocolates won’t be considered the most desirable as they are often portrayed today? I think there will always be a place for handcrafted, especially for those who have more income to spend. 3D printing may offer a less expensive way to satisfy more consumers who want something that looks pretty, too.

What do you all think?

Photo information: Creative-Tools.com, 3D Printshow 2014 London, 4 September 2014, 13:59

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