The Chocolate You Can Taste Through Your Memories
Spanish chef Jordi Roca is bringing back a bit of sweetness into the lives of those with an impaired sense of taste, with a chocolate that people experience through memories.
The Michelin-starred pastry chef consulted with neuro-scientists and neuro-gastronomy experts to create the flavour.
Roca, who suffers from a rare neurological disease that affects his throat and voice, came up with the idea after imagining himself also losing his sense of taste.
He was also inspired by his friend and fellow chef Orio Blanes who developed dysgeusia (an impaired sense of taste) two years ago. Dysgeusia is also a common side-effect of chemotherapy.
"When we started to investigate we found out there are lots of people who have an altered flavour perception for different reasons," Roca told Reuters.
"And I thought it was a beautiful thing to do, to allow them to rediscover flavours, using chocolate."
He used "aural, visual and tactile sensations" to help patients "reconnect" with the flavour they could no longer taste.
Seven patients who had lost their sense of taste were given the experience of tasting the chocolate in Spain.
The youngest patient, Marian Torres, said chocolate reminded her of her first years at school.
For Torres, Roca used distilled water and pencil tips with sounds of a playground, to help her remember what chocolate tastes like.
“It reminded me of the joy of eating chocolate and sharing it with my friends, which was such a simple and comforting time,” Torres told Reuters.
Another patient, Susana Quevedo, tried a white chocolate dessert, and was reduced to tears as she tasted the flavour for the first time since beginning her battle with ovarian cancer.
“It was as if the dessert had a heartbeat ... the heartbeat of the life I’m fighting for,” she said.