If you love eating chocolate, you may have wondered why does chocolate taste better when it is cold. Well, let’s find out!
While eating chocolate warm or out of the fridge is a matter of personal preference, the fact is that chocolate does taste better when cold.
Cold or cool chocolate tastes better because melting and soft chocolate cannot maintain the same experience in terms of flavor and texture. Since warm chocolate is melted, you don't get to enjoy the same taste or texture that makes chocolate enjoyable.
Chocolate is one of the most loved foods around the world that people just can’t seem to get enough of. While freezing or refrigerating chocolate before eating may seem like the more obvious option, not everyone follows the same rules. However, while some people do occasionally enjoy some room-temperature or melting chocolate, cold chocolate being the best chocolate is the prevalent opinion remains.
As chocolate enthusiasts who love trying out new chocolates, we can help you get the answer that you are looking for when it comes to why does chocolate taste better when it is cold?
Why Does Cold Chocolate Taste Better?
The question of whether chocolate tastes better cold or not has sparked a lot of debate, but many people agree that chocolate does taste better out of the fridge. So, why does chocolate taste better when cold? To find out why we must first understand what chocolate is made of.
The basic element in chocolate is cocoa butter; it is mostly made up of fat molecules, and the arrangement of these fat molecules affects the structure of chocolate. The molecules themselves do not change in these diverse forms; what changes is how they are stacked or organized. The higher the density of the structure generated and the more stable it is, the more effectively they are stacked together.
Cocoa butter contains at least six distinct structures, or 'crystal forms;' polymorphism refers to a substance's capacity to show many shapes. The arrangement of molecules in these crystal formations varies, which determines qualities like texture and taste. This has an impact on the chocolate's flavor and quality.
This is due to a phenomenon called polymorphism, which refers to a solid's capacity to exist in several crystal structures. Every crystal structure is referred to as a polymorph, and each polymorph has its unique set of characteristics. Cocoa butter, the basic component of chocolate, is divided into six polymorphs that may be recognized by their melting points.
Shape V is the ideal crystal form for chocolate in terms of look and flavor. This shape is glossy, snaps when broken, melts in the mouth, and has a smooth feel. Unfortunately, it is not the most stable of the six and thus requires a procedure known as 'tempering' before it can be used as the principal structure in chocolate.
A blend of forms I-V can be created by simply allowing molten cocoa butter to cool naturally. Obviously, this isn't ideal, as forms I-IV have unfavorable qualities that affect the chocolate's quality. Tempering is the process of allowing molten chocolate to cool slowly in order to maximize the amount of form V that forms.
Allowing the molten chocolate to get cold during a period of time enhances form V that forms in the mixture, which is what tempering is all about. After cooling, the chocolate is then heated to just beyond the melting point of form V which, in turn, dissolves forms I-IV because they have a much lower melting point. However, the change does not form V crystals. Once the chocolate is allowed to cool for the second time, it tends to solidify in the same pattern as the existing form V crystals and takes on a similar structure, resulting in chocolate with relatively few other forms of structure.
Form VI hasn't been mentioned yet since, unlike the previous forms, it doesn't form as molten chocolate hardens. Instead, it takes many months to develop from form V. Over this time period, the fat molecules in form V have accumulated enough energy to transform into form VI, which is tougher and melts too slowly in the mouth due to its higher melting point. Fat 'bloom' can also appear on the chocolate as a result of partial melting, which causes the fats to rise to the surface.
This is a transformation that has an influence on the quality of the chocolate; therefore, you should generally avoid it. It's not something to be concerned about if you don't intend to have chocolate around for an extended period of time. If you want to eat chocolate in moderation, the transfer from form V to form VI can be slowed down by simply keeping it in the refrigerator. This is because the molecules in the structure don't have enough energy to convert to form VI at lower temperatures.
Chocolate and Polymorphs
Polymorphs I – IV are very sticky when at room temperature to be used in chocolate production. The most stable polymorph is Polymorph VI. However, it has a bland flavor and is overly brittle. Polymorph V is the most suitable form for consumption.
Polymorph V's fatty molecules have enough energy at room temperature to slowly transition to polymorph VI. The vibrational energy contained in the molecules facilitates this shift in the crystal structure by allowing the molecules to wiggle about and realign with one another. Keep your chocolate in a cool, dark area (like the freezer!!) to ensure that the molecules do not get the right amount of vibrational energy, which would change them to polymorph VI.
You might then wonder how you can know whether this has happened. The shift in the crystal structure is sometimes followed by a phenomenon known as 'fat bloom,' in which the chocolate becomes dusty and pale patches develop on the surface, as illustrated in the attached image. We've all been there (and if you haven't, consider yourself quite fortunate). It's unappealing, yet it's quite safe to consume. It happens when the solid partially melts, causing the fats inside it to rise to the surface.
When chocolate is melted, it no longer exists as a solid. To put it another way, it's no longer a crystal, and the polymorphs have no bearing on the situation. This means you taste "individual molecules" in bulk rather than an expansive network of molecules once melted.
It's crucial to consider the viscosity as well as the texture when it comes into contact with the tongue. Many prefer chilled chocolate temperature because the chocolate is able to maintain its form, texture, and tongue spread. Chocolate that is soft and slightly melting isn't the same flavor or sensation. It distributes gunk about your mouth and plugs it up.
It's similar to how most people prefer cold water to room temperature water, cold beer, and so on. In some ways, you receive a "cleaner," more distinct flavor instead of a "blurred" flavor. Feel it in your mouth. Those descriptive adjectives aren't great, but it describes the experience of the user. A Flake doesn't have the same texture as a dairy milk bar; hence, texture is vital.
About THE AUTHOR
Lori has been a Culinary Arts instructor for twenty years. She has taught in the public school setting, at the collegiate level and through adult continuing education as well as running several cooking and baking camps for children. She has participated in several cooking, cake & chocolate contests and has been well recognized. She has raised thousands of dollars for charities using the byline “Saving the World one Cupcake at a Time”. Additionally, she has had several articles regarding food published in various magazines.Read More About Lori Gilmore