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It’s all a matter of taste

Think about the foods you eat. Fruit yogurts and desserts, steak pie, veggie burgers, crisps, soups, sauces, lasagne, cheese… the list is endless. Unless you have reared, grown or cooked everything from scratch, there’s a high likelihood that many foods you buy have been enhanced by flavour chemicals. This is especially the case where recipes have been amended to reduce sugar, salt or fat.

Chemicals can also be used to replicate natural flavours, such as chicken, bacon, cheese or fruit. They can be used to emulate the unique flavours created by different cooking methods like roasting, frying or barbecuing.  They can even boost natural flavourings themselves. Then there’s the magical effects of enzymes on ingredients…

An introduction to flavours

Flavour chemistry is a truly fascinating subject. I can say this with confidence because I have attended Verner Wheelock’s two-day Introduction to Flavours course myself. It takes you on a journey from how we perceive flavour (for instance, did you know that if you put a sweet in your mouth and then pinch your nose, you can no longer taste the sweet?) to actually creating flavours yourself. As a flavours novice I have to say that I found the course really, really, interesting and was astonished when my team were judged to have produced the best raspberry flavour, just through smelling our creation before we applied it to yogurt.

The course tutors are Professor David Baines and Richard Seal, both of whom are experts and highly regarded in their field. As a result, the course has attracted delegates from Germany, Poland, Belgium and India, as well as the UK. There were people from snack food producers, pork pie and pasties manufacturers, relish producers, cereal manufacturers, tobacco/vaping companies and additives and flavours companies. All were looking to have a greater understanding of flavours to assist them in their roles.

The full spectrum of flavours

The course lectures were on the following subjects:

  • What is flavour?;
  • Sensory analysis and flavour wheels;
  • Flavour deconstruction and reconstruction;
  • Flavour and culture;
  • Legislation;
  • Thermal process flavours;
  • Savoury ingredients;
  • Using enzymes to create flavours;
  • Smoke flavours;
  • New developments in flavours;
  • Evaluation of enzyme digests and encapsulation technologies.  

During the lectures, we were given different compounds and products to smell, taste and evaluate.  In practical sessions we took the knowledge gained from the lectures and used it to create a top note raspberry flavour, a savoury seasoning and to apply a thermal process flavour to a vegetarian burger.  

Suhail Master of flavour house, Irish Country Gold, said, “The workshop sessions were brilliant. It’s always good to put theory into practice.

Creating Thermal Process Flavours

The 2-day Introduction to Flavours course is of great value if you are in the business of creating flavours, or if you want to move into this area. It’s also a great springboard on to our 5-day Creating Thermal Process Flavours course, also delivered by Professor Baines and Mr Seal. This course is unique in the UK and continues to attract flavourists from around the globe.

The next Introduction to Flavours takes place on 26th – 27th May and the next Creating Thermal Process Flavours course is from 26th – 30th October. Both courses take place in Skipton, North Yorkshire.

Places are strictly limited, so it is advisable to book early. For more information, please contact Claire Lennon on 01756 700802 or email claire.lennon@vwa.co.uk