Lemon and Dark Chocolate – Flavour Matching Series

At first, pairing sour and bitter together doesn’t sound too appetising…  but after reading Lisa Farmer’s take on combining Lemon and Dark Chocolate, it may change your mind and tempt you to try it.

Lisa Farmer is the owner of a cafe called ‘Tracks Cafe’ in New Town, Hobart, Tasmania. Located in a small nursery, the cafe serves delicious food, great coffee and beautiful homemade cakes and sweets. One of Lisa’s favourites sweets are the lemon and dark chocolate biscotti.

“It’s difficult to pull off, because the flavours are so intense, but they work beautifully when you balance it right”.

Dark Chocolate is best eaten in small quantities, eat it too quickly and you will miss the flavour. Because of its high cocoa content, dark chocolate is more intense in bitterness than milk chocolate, which is higher in sugar and therefore a lot sweeter. Written in The Flavour Thesaurus, the higher the % of cocoa, the longer it takes for the flavour to develop on your tongue. Lisa prefers to use a higher % chocolate, such as 70% in her baking and she finds that “the bitterness and slight sweetness of the chocolate takes the edge off the sourness of the lemon”.

“Used in moderation, lemon can add ‘lift’ to a dish and produce a ‘fresher’ taste”, describes Lisa. “Used too much, and its sourness will shine through”. Highly compatible in both savoury and sweet dishes, the flavour of a lemon is described as sour, tangy and zesty.

Looking at gustatory perception, we gather information on how to enhance the flavour of certain foods. Gustatory perception is the sensation that results when taste buds in the tongue and throat convey information about the chemical composition of a soluble stimulus.

When tasting lemon, it is usually detected on the sides of the mouth where we pick up sourness. Bitter chocolate is picked up more towards the back on the tongue. So when we combine these two in a recipe for a sweet biscuit or cake (containing sugar), nearly all sensory regions on the tongue are activated, creating a much better mouthful and ‘explosion’ of flavour.

Recipe idea – Lisa makes lemon and dark chocolate biscotti which she sells in her cafe.

Other recipes can be found here:

Lemon and Dark Chocolate Brownies 

Lemon Chocolate Chip Cake 

Lemon and Chocolate Tart

Tracks Cafe – 65 Bellevue Pde, New Town, TAS, 7008

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