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Happy-Gourmand

Busting myths and misinformation—the food edition

Interesting food facts

This week I wanted to give you some tidbits for your coffee break chats or random texting conversations—whatever it is people do in between activities nowadays.

You’ll learn the real answer about white chocolate, whether wasabi or chiles are more volatile and the answers to another burning question you might never have thought to ask.

•••

I am a dark chocolate fan and have been all along. I love the bitterness of the higher cocoa content, but I know others who prefer the creaminess of milk, or even white, chocolate. But is it truly chocolate if it’s white?

The catch is white chocolate contains cocoa butter, the fat component of the cocoa bean. Often commercial white chocolate is made with cocoa butter that has been “deodorized”, but in its natural state it does have a subtle chocolatey aroma. In fact, it was this delicate nature that may have made it the most coveted kind of chocolate when it first became a confection.

Chocolate bars are made by separating the cocoa butter from the solids and adding just some of it back when it is pressed into molds. The extra butter was a wonderful coating for many medications – smooth (making them easier to swallow), it melted in your mouth, and it tasted pleasant.

Artisanal white chocolate bars have the smooth taste and the natural aroma without any industrial additives, making them a delightful choice to change up your chocolate experience. They are indeed chocolate, and can be created with many variations and at many levels of quality like milk or dark chocolate.

•••

When we speak about the fiery nature of tastes like chiles, hot mustards and horseradish, the sinus system plays a large part again.

It is more about the connecting passageways that changes how we perceive these flavours, however.

Chiles have a component called capsaicin, which is what makes us feel the heat sensation. It bonds to a certain receptor that runs from our mouth and nose to our brain. It is not volatile unless you heat it. Have you ever cooked chiles on the stove and felt that choking, burning sensation? That’s the capsaicin becoming volatile from the cooking.

The component in mustard powder and horseradish is isothiocyanates and they bond to different receptors so they act differently in our bodies. The receptors they connect with are more prevalent in our noses, so that is why we often feel that rush of heat up our nose from a shot of wasabi or hot mustard. Being volatile however, the isothiocyanates dissipate faster than chiles.

Mustard and horseradish will hit you faster, but chiles last longer. One more useful fact – capsaicin is not water soluble, so that’s why drinking water doesn’t help if you eat too many hot peppers on a dare.

•••

I have one last bit of fun for you. It has been scientifically proven that it is nearly impossible to split your Oreo cookie and have filling on both wafers.

There was an MIT study done on this (link: https://pubs.aip.org/aip/pof/article/34/4/043107/2844774/On-Oreology-the-fracture-and-flow-of-milk-s ) where they created a machine to split cookies (called the Oreometer, of course). There is a 95% probability that you will end up with the filling on just one wafer.

•••

I hope knowing those answers won’t spoil any of the fun of eating these foods. Rather, I hope it inspires you to think more about the many facets of how we enjoy what we eat.

Bon appetit!

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."

 

E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com

 



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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