The taste of food is what delights us the most, but also its texture, its mouthfeel and the sound it makes when we bite it. A food is more delicious when it triggers all five senses.
This is what a team of Dutch scientists wanted to reproduce by designing the most perfect piece of chocolate that could break and crackle to increase this “pleasure in the mouth”.
(Photo: VALENTINE CHAPUIS/AFP via Getty Images)
A photo shows hardened chocolate before the packaging stage at the Ethiquable cooperative chocolate factory in Fleurance, southern France, on August 26, 2021.
the to research The team hails from the University of Amsterdam and consists of physicists and food researchers who have experimented with a unique technique through 3D printing chocolates that will possess unique structures and emphasize the right characteristics. usually associated with high quality chocolates.
This was all done in hopes of discovering ways to alter the way materials fracture and improve the way people physically interact with all kinds of matter.
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Maximize the pleasure in the mouth
The main goal of the researchers was to reproduce the metamaterials into edible products. These materials are considered man-made structures that “display unusual and superior properties” and have a carefully engineered structure rather than a composition.
Metamaterials are prevalent in the field of science like electromagnetism and mechanics, and as such they are highly applicable for technological advancements and infrastructure development.
However, the researchers wanted to take metamaterials to another level by exploring how they can enhance the relationship between humans and materials. Therefore, they used chocolate as a model material to create and control its structure.
The first challenge the researchers faced was to make sure the chocolate was under control since it is a delicate piece when heated and frozen. They had to carefully heat the chocolates, cool them and put them in a 3D printer.
This meant that scientists had the freedom to print any type of shape they wanted to reproduce while ensuring that the base material had all the qualities to maximize mouthfeel.
The first printed chocolate was S-shaped with many twists, they found that the breaking properties depended strongly on the direction of the bite. It especially provides more cracks when the chocolate is pressed above the teeth.
The crunchier the better
Most people would enjoy food more when it crackles in their mouth. The researchers thought it was. So they controlled and designed the shapes of the chocolates to program the most crack-causing part.
They found that spiral-shaped chocolate materials had “interesting tunable properties”.
“Not only does the number of windings directly control the number of cracks when the material is mechanically pressed, but the test panel can also clearly distinguish between less and more cracks when eating the chocolates,” they wrote on the official website of the University of Amsterdam.
They added, “Furthermore, the sound recordings showed that the sound the chocolates make when bitten reflects the number of cracks, which adds to an enjoyable dining experience.”
The Dutch scientists concluded in their paper that edible materials could be designed and refined to enhance the sensory experience in the mouth. With their mathematical model, they were able to program how the chocolate shapes could cause cracks.
They hope to pave the way for more studies of human-matter interactions and fracture properties.
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Written by Joaquin Victor Tacla
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