Does The Shape Of Chocolate Change How It Tastes?

If there’s one thing that’s important about chocolate — and there are many — it’s how it tastes. Smooth, velvety, dark or milk chocolatey, all of these factors matter to the refined choco-consumer. But what about its shape? Cadbury aficionados across the pond say once the bars of Dairy Milk changed shape, the taste went out the window.

Cadbury claims the brouhaha is much ado about nothing, as the recipe has stayed exactly the same, reports the BBC.

“This undoubtedly helps to improve the melt-in-the-mouth experience and the feedback from consumers has been extremely positive,” said a spokesman.

As it turns out, the shape of chocolate can, in fact, change the taste. Scientists, chocolatiers and chefs all agree: The shape determines how fast the chocolate melts in your mouth (not in your hands, natch) and that then controls the order and speed of the food molecules releasing themselves on your tongue and up into your nose.

Because the Dairy Milk bar has changed shape, this could make it melt differently, potentially causing the chocolate’s molecules to hit you in a different way.

“The speed with which the chocolate is broken down from hard to molten determines the time release of flavors,” says the co-director and founder of the Centre for the Study of the Senses. “The new shape could mean the chocolate is melting quicker as it is being heated in the mouth quicker. That would change the flavor.”

So why wouldn’t we all just want a chocolate that melts nice and quick? Because in the case of the Dairy Milk, the oils from the cocoa solids could be melting faster and hitting your taste buds with a shot of oil. Thus, the “oily” mouth feel, says one chef.

Or perhaps you’ve got an ingredient that’s a bit powerful and you don’t want it to overwhelm your taste buds all at once, like rosemary, explains a pro chocolatier. Caramel though, that can come through nice and quick.

Then there’s the fact that many of us eat with our eyes first: If you expect your favorite brand of chocolate to look one way and it doesn’t, you’ll probably expect it to taste different once you eat it.

I don’t much mind as long as there’s some sort of chocolate in any kind of shape. Bunnies, squares, the shape of Aaron Paul’s face — I’ll take it all.

Who, what, why: Does the shape of chocolate change its taste? [BBC]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.