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It seems to be the texture of chocolate as well as the taste that makes it irresistible

choc-meltA rather strange story about chocolate appeared on the BBC health news section.  It features stories about nuns of old in South America who might have developed a craving for cacao to such an extent that hysterical attacks featured among their withdrawal symptoms when new laws diminished their access to it.  Further down, though, there is information relevant to today’s chocolate lovers. Prof Philip K. Wilson, co-author of Chocolate as Medicine – A Quest over the Centuries suggests that the “almost seductive” texture of chocolate is as important as its ingredients.  He is backed up by Dr Barry Smith, director of the Centre for the Study of the Senses at Birkbeck University of London, who says that “the combination of the smoothness and creaminess of chocolate in the mouth, the sweetness of the taste – boosted by vanilla flavouring – and the smell of it before it even hits the taste buds make chocolate-eating a hugely pleasurable experience.”  So there seem to be two pleasures involved.  As well as the taste that releases those chemicals into the brain, there is the melt-in-the-mouth sensation that strokes your tongue with indulgent pleasure.  That’s why chocolate when drunk has not the same effect as chocolate savoured slowly in the mouth.  The lesson is that chocolate should not be hurried.  Let it linger in the mouth to simulate the receptors in the tongue as well as those in the brain.  Time for another piece, I think….

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