Why chocolate goes so well with salt

Have you ever wondered why almost every chocolate maker has an inclusion bar with SALT in his/her assortment? Why does chocolate go so well with salt? Here are the main three reasons:

1) Salt is a sugar detector.
When sodium is present, sensors located in our intestines and on our tongue that normally don’t alert to sugar process glucose as sweet. To be more specific, an intestinal glucose sensor known as SGLT1 starts moving glucose into the sweet taste receptor cells when sodium is present, thus triggering the cells to register sweetness. The result is that salt not only alerts our ‘salt sensitivity’, but also triggers a reaction with our ‘sweet sensitive’ taste buds to make them more receptive to sweet flavors. It’s like a second sugar detector is being signaled that you’re eating something sugary.

2) Salt adds texture and flavor.
When chocolate professionals add salt to their creations, they can do it for two reasons:
• to make the chocolate taste “pop”.
• to actually taste the salt in the chocolate.
In the first case, salt has a supportive role more than being the protagonist. For this purpose, the choice is usually a finer salt whose grains are tiny and almost imperceptible. In the second case, salt is an integrated part of the recipe and has the same importance of all the other ingredients. For this purpose, the choice is usually a specialty salt that brings its own texture and flavor to the table.

3) Salt contrasts sweetness.
Although a “pinch of salt” can be used to enhance sweetness, a more substantial amount of salt can be useful to actually contrast the sweetness of a chocolate creation. Let’s be aware that cacao is not sweet itself. Even the most fruity and floral cacao is still considered to be “bitter” by most palates. What salt can help to contrast is the sweetness of sugar and other sweet inclusions. By adding salt in inclusion bars with vanilla, caramel or fruits, chocolate professionals ensure that the sweet ingredients are kept at bay thanks to the sodium.

Do you like salt in chocolate?

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