The aroma of black chocolate hides stinking smells (separately)

Vinegar, a little vanilla, honey, with its wax, and a faint touch of stale sweat. Apart from disgusting, this recipe of smells does not seem like the food of the gods (as it is known to cocoa), but it seems that this is how it begins one of the most famous foods-and tasty-which is derived from it. Specifically, they are the smells that evoke the five most abundant ingredients among those that give their aroma to black chocolate , according to a recently published study.

To reach this unprecedented conclusion, two scientists from the German universities of Hohenheim and Munich recruited a group of noses specially trained to perceive the subtlety of the aromas of black chocolate (90 and 99% cocoa). After detecting 77 compounds related to the aroma of the food, the researchers observed that the human smell can distinguish 30 of them, and, after the sensory evaluation of the privileged noses, concluded that 25 of them are enough To recreate the smell of black chocolate. The funny thing is that, by the description included in the new article, which has seen the light in the journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Some of them, by themselves, can be described as stinking without any qualms.

Among the compounds that have served to recreate the aroma of chocolate are many pleasant substances, evoking floral aromas, honey, cinnamon and other delicacies for smell. It's normal that you want to get tired of eating it. But there are also a few that do not make any grace; They smell of sweat, like metilpropanoico acid, or cauliflower, like the dimethyl trisulfide. Fortunately, other compounds that leave olfactory traces as unattractive as those produced by fecal glow are not abundant enough in the food to detect them.

The research is part of a long tradition that began in 1912, when a couple of scientists tried to extract and analyze the aroma of cocoa for the first time. More than a century later, almost 600 volatile compounds are already known in cocoa, substances that release into the air and that allow to identify the seed by the smell. The new study not only adds a lesson to the available knowledge of the aroma of chocolate, also recalls a very important idea in the field of aromas and, in general, any fan of chemistry: It is the combination that counts, how much you put in each Compound in the mixture.

In fact, the smell of peanuts and hazelnuts is the result of the same molecules, only combined in different concentrations. In the same way, as much as this food includes smells of popcorn, coconut, mushroom, soil, train oil and cauliflower, there is no doubt that the complex aroma of black chocolate is unique. And good luck, because if it emanated from it the same glow that the most abundant odorous, which, by far, is acetic acid, black chocolate would smell... Yes, vinegar.