Food flavors and sensations


Having the ability to identify the flavor elements and sensory aspects of food, as well as knowing how to combine them, will help you a lot to adapt and/or create recipes, finding the magic ingredient that makes all the difference.

Each food, depending on its preparation, has a unique flavor profile, which is what our taste buds perceive. Our tongues have specific sensory cells to detect each of the flavors.

The main flavor profiles are: salty, sweet, sour, bitter and umami. Other aspects of food that affect the experience of flavors include heat, temperature, and texture.


The amount of sodium we detect in the food. The salty taste intensifies the other flavors or lack of flavor, which is why processed foods are so salty.


The amount of glucose, fructose and lactose perceived in food. This flavor is easy to combine with others and create sweet-sour or sweet-spicy profiles. We all like the sweet taste, but we must be careful and limit the consumption of sugar in any of its forms for health reasons.


As the name makes clear, it is the acid intensity of the food. Adding acidity to a recipe with sweet or spicy flavors or fatty textures takes it to another level. Lemon juice or other citrus fruits, vinegars, tomato and yogurt are examples of widely used acid flavors.


The bitter taste was not as appreciated: bitter plants were associated with poisonous plants and we avoided them through reaction to their taste. Today, we combine this flavor with sweet or savory, adding foods such as spinach, kale, grapefruit, beer, chicory, dandelion, broccoli and even coffee to our recipes, achieving an excellent result in both flavor and nutrients.


This is the least obvious and well-known flavor, but also the most exquisite and noble of flavors. Technically it is the amount of glutamate, an amino acid, in food. Umami comes from Japanese and translates as "pleasant salty taste" and has an earthy and meaty touch, like mushrooms, eggplant, beans and even tomato that combines acid and umami.


Even if it is not a flavor as such, it is an aspect that is felt on the tongue through nerve signals such as pain and for this reason, people have different resistances to spicy. The sensory aspect of spicy is a wonderful tool in the kitchen, and adds a whole world of experiences to our recipes.


Temperature is a fundamental part of the dining experience and has a lot to do with cultural issues. If you have doubts about what I am telling you, think of a pizza fresh from the oven and the same pizza the next day. Aren't they totally different experiences?


The texture of food totally changes the dining experience, even more than the temperature, and it's a very personal thing. Some people like firm and loose rice and others prefer it beaten. The rule of thumb in terms of textures is variety: the more textures you can put on a dish, the richer the diner's experience will be.

To try and create with the flavors and sensory aspects of food!


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