Am I Tasting or Smelling or Both?

Whether you enjoy a delicious dish or recipe at home, or indulge in one at your favorite restaurant, we all crave enjoyable “taste” band flavor sensations that often trigger food memories or creates new ones.  However, taste and flavor are often easily confused.   Flavor is actually created when your taste and sense of smell work in conjunction with each other to form a perception, “Flavor”.   Taste is then received through sensory organs such as the tongue, the papillae, taste buds, and the receptor cells.

When food enters your mouth saliva is released and starts to break down the food, moving it into the tiny pores on the tongue where the receptor cells are located. The cells then determine whether the food fits into one of five tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami.

Think about biting into a rich and decadent chocolate ganache cake drizzled with salted caramel….what mouth sensations would you expect to experience?  Sweet, creamy, slightly salty, and or perhaps the  richness of chocolate?  Coincidentally,  with this example the sense of smell may not be as prevalent unless the chocolate cake is warm which in turn would intensify its effects.  YES, warm chocolate could awaken the senses much faster than cold or room temperature chocolate due to aroma.  This in fact may enhance your enjoyment of this particular dish as your smell and taste sensors are working in conjunction.

Although most of us refer to the word taste to mean flavor, it is applicable only to the sensations arising from specialized taste cells in the mouth.  Remember as mentioned earlier, we generally describe human taste perception in terms of five qualities: saltiness, sourness, sweetness, bitterness and umami.