The new era of boutique chocolate is here! Chocolate-lovers will soon be able to taste complex flavours as sophisticated as wines or beers as a team of scientists has found a way to boost its flavour.
The University of Leuven researchers have shown that the yeasts used to ferment cocoa during chocolate production can modify the aroma of the resulting chocolate.
This makes it possible to create a whole range of boutique chocolates to match everyone’s favorite flavor, similar to wines, tea, and coffee, says Jan Steensels,.
The investigators noted striking differences in aroma among the chocolates made from fermentations using different robust yeasts, said Steensels. That was remarkable, he said, since only the yeast strains were different: the fermentations were performed identically, and the same recipe was used each time.
The investigators, who collaborated in this research with Barry Callebaut, the world’s largest chocolate producer, have combined two critical characteristics of yeast in single hybrid variants: the ability to dominate cocoa fermentations, and to produce a specific flavor.
“This means that for the first time, chocolate makers have a broad portfolio of different yeast strains that are all producing different flavors,” says Steensels. “This is similar to the current situation in beer brewing and wine making.” A new era of chocolate may be dawning.
The research is published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.