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Laughing gas makes better chocolate


Using nitrous oxide – or “laughing gas” – to put the bubbles in chocolate produces a more intense, melt-in-the-mouth flavour, according to Chemistry & Industry magazine.

Gases like carbon dioxide or nitrogen are commonly used to produce the air bubbles in aerated chocolates like Aero.

Researchers at the University of Reading, UK, tested the effects of aeration with four gases – nitrous oxide, nitrogen, argon and carbon dioxide – on the sensory properties of chocolate produced using a recipe provided by Nestle, the makers of Aero.

A panel of 20 non-expert testers said that chocolate aerated using laughing gas had the most intense cocoa flavour.

Chocolate aerated with argon or nitrogen, which produce small bubbles, was perceived as harder and creamier because the chocolate takes longer to melt in the mouth. Chocolate aerated using carbon dioxide or laughing gas, which produce larger bubbles, melted rapidly in the mouth.

“This study illustrates, for the first time, the sensory response of bubble-included chocolates in relation to bubble size,” says lead researcher Keshavan Niranjan.

Bubbles are undervalued as a food ingredient, he says.

“They can be used to add novel textures, structures and mouth-feels, without adding any extra calories.”

The results will be presented at the Institute of Food Technologist’s Annual Meeting in New Orleans on 19th July 2005.

Jacqueline Ali | alfa
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