The harmony of taste and the baffling complexity of flavour
Which of our senses do we use when we eat food? The answer to this, often unthought question is ‘all of them’. When all our senses combine – what we get is a complete food experience. There is a reason why restaurants take painstaking care to design magnificent food experiences. There is a reason why an entire academic discipline is dedicated to sensory food research that examines each and every reaction given by senses during food intake.For most of us, food and taste is something we feel we understand because we exercise it on daily basis. However, food is not as simple as it seems, it’s deeper. I believe because we evolved and food became abundant we got the luxury to experiment with food in many ways. And we have been successful. We have explored the subtle nuances of taste and flavor like no other species on earth. But I still feel, this is just the beginning and we have a long way to go in exploring taste and flavours. Honestly speaking, I am amateur when it comes to understanding the ‘subtle nuances’ of food. It is very natural for me to think that food quenches our craving for taste. Whereas, it is actually the flavour of the food that satiates our senses. Taste is simple, but flavour is complex – giving a far wider range of sensations. Flavour and taste was one-and-the same thing for me, really. And I was duly corrected for it. When I see it now, it comes out to be an altogether different story. Since childhood I knew that only four words described taste – sweet, salty, sour and bitter. And for years to come, four it was. But when I grew, a fifth taste was added to the list – the ‘umami’. It is a Japanese word for savoury, describing the taste of glutamate – an amino acid, naturally found in meat, fish, vegetables and dairy products and a taste which most people don’t actually recognize. To understand flavour, however, you have to break through the realms of five tastes, which is only one component of flavor by the way. You get the complete flavor of food by bringing in other senses into action- and that’s how you understand flavour. That’s exactly what our flavors manufacturing section is all about – whole galore of options for products to perform better, designing a unique food experience for people with right visual appeal and a unique variations for taste and aroma.