You are on page 1of 2


Chemicals such as trimethylpyrazine gave a true-to-nature

roasted note to nut and chocolate flavours.
5.4.2 Chocolate
Cocoa mass contains a complex mixture of flavour chemicals with both sweet and savoury
characters. Further complexity is then added to the flavour as the first chocolate is made, with
additional flavour chemicals with dairy characteristics introduced from the milk solids added,
and then often additional ingredients such as nuts, raisins or coconut introduce yet more
flavour chemicals. Some of the flavour compounds characteristic of chocolate and cocoa,
especially savoury flavour chemicals, are formed during the fermentation process (Baigrie,
1994) that the beans undergo after harvesting (Table 5.2). During the fermentation, first sugars
are metabolised by yeasts to produce ethanol, then lactic acid bacteria convert citric acid from
the bean extracts into ethanol, and then acetic acid bacteria metabolise this ethanol into acetic
acid (Rombaults, 1952). Some other flavours are produced by the fermentation, such as ethyl2-methylbutanoate, tetramethylpyrazine and some other pyrazines. The bitter taste notes are
provided by theobromine and caffeine carried over from the original beans, together with
diketopiperazines formed from the thermal decomposition of proteins during the roasting
step. Other amino acids released during the fermentation are the precursors for other flavour
chemicals such as 3-methylbutanol, phenylacetaldehyde, 2-methyl-3-(methyldithio)furan,
2-ethyl-3,5-dimethyl- and 2,3-diethyl-5-methylpyrazine. 2-Acetyl-1-pyrroline is formed by
Bacillus cereus acting in the later stages of the fermentation, and also during the drying
of the pulp, and so at least some of the acetyl-1-pyrroline of cocoa appears to be formed
microbially, and not just by thermally induced reaction during the later stages of cocoa
processing (roasting etc.). This carryover of flavours from fermentation appears to be a
general phenomenon, as tetramethylpyrazine has been shown to be made by Bacillus subtilis
during the processing of the Japanese fermented soybean product called natto, which has an
odour very characteristic of pyrazines.

Following fermentation of the bean extract, it is dried, during which polyphenol oxidase
activity continues, giving rise to new flavour molecules. Overall, the cocoa flavour is very
dependent on the precise conditions and duration of harvesting, fermentation, drying and
roasting stages. On further processing to chocolate, the sugar added is the main addition
to the flavour, together with cocoa butter and some added flavouring materials, plus special
ingredients such as nuts and coffee paste (Table 5.4).
Many spices are processed into essential oils and then used as such. Some of the larger
volume essential oils are produced from cassia, cinnamon leaf, clove bud, coriander, dill,
rosemary, sassafras and star anise