July 27th, 2021
When craving for something sweet, we tend to expect as much sweetness as possible. However, have you ever wondered why all those brownie and other sea salt chocolate cookie recipes call for a pinch of salt?
Sure, this might sound counterproductive; but as per the professional chocolatiers at Melt (or any confectioner, for that matter!), the addition of salt not only balances the sweetness of the entire dish for a pleasant taste but also makes the sugar in it all the more sweeter.
Whilst these are two of the reasons why sea salt and chocolate works so well, in this blog, we’ll be getting to the bottom of why exactly choco creations such as our sea salt chocolate bar and dark/milk sea salt discs taste so good!
Before that, let’s go back in time and take a look at the history of salt and cacao.
In ancient times, salt was a difficult product to get your hands on!
This is one of the reasons why they were so scarce and expensive; so much so that, it was not only considered as a highly valuable commodity but was also used as a form of currency.
In fact, the term “salary” is derived from the Latin word “salarium” which actually means “salt money” (now it’s all coming together, isn’t it?).
What’s more, similar to the preciousness of salt, cacao too was considered as a valuable product amongst Aztecs. Not only was it used to make chocolate drinks during ceremonies but was also employed as ready cash! Put simply, everytime they drank chocolate beverages, they were literally drinking money.
Fast forward to thousands of years later, while both sea salt and chocolate can’t be used as a trade item, they definitely make for the best combination in most decadent sweet treats.
Now that you know a little bit about the history of both cacao and salt, let’s take a look at why they make for the perfect pair!
All of us have at least once wondered why professional chocolatiers add “a pinch of salt” in their dessert recipes.
Well, paradoxically, salt is known to intensify your taste buds’ ability to experience the sweetness present in the sugar. In other words, when sodium is present in a dish, it enables your tongue to process the glucose as sweet.
This means, the addition of salt not only activates your “salt sensitivity” but also triggers the “sweet sensitive” reaction of your taste buds, making them more attuned to sweet flavours. It’s like your taste buds are being notified about you eating chocolates.
Moreover, salt makes the intrinsic flavours of chocolate “pop”, giving energy and life to the luxurious sweet treats.
Click here to discover some of our top sea salt and chocolate combinations.
Often, it’s the crunchiness and grainer or coarser texture that makes chocolates all the more intriguing (depends on your personal taste, of course!) and brings it to glory!
This means, when professional chocolatiers use salt with chocolate, they do it for two reasons:
To make the flavours of chocolate “pop”
To actually make you taste the salt in their creations
In the first instance, salt merely acts as a supporting ingredient instead of the protagonist. Here, usually a finer salt is used to give the chocolates a grainy texture while ensuring it doesn’t interfere with its smoothness.
However, in the second instance, salt has the same importance as the rest of the ingredients and is added to bring its own flavour and texture to the table. Moreover, the crystals in recipes where salt is an integral part are larger in size so that it can give the choco creations a salty crunch.
While a “pinch of salt” can enhance the overall sweetness of your choco creation, a substantial amount of salt in it can actually cut through the sweetness.
What’s more, by adding salt in treats that also have ingredients like milk, dried fruits, vanilla or caramel (these are known to quickly reach an overwhelming level of sweetness), you can ensure that these sweet elements don’t overpower the dish.
With a sweet and salty combination, you can definitely add life to chocolates that challenge the limits of your palates.
Although it completely depends on your preferences, you cannot deny the fact that the combination of sea salt and chocolate is just as popular as cheese and wine, bread and butter, and the famous peanut butter and jelly pair.
It’s a kind of combination that’ll never go out of style!
Just like our divine spice and chocolate combinations, our salt and chocolate creations are also exceptionally delicious!
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