Taste is very closely linked to smell, to the point that, when I was younger and my mum was trying to get me to eat something I didn’t like, she always told me ‘hold your nose and you won’t be able to taste it’. It is true the flavour was not so strong but I could still taste the food I didn’t like!
We all have our ultimate comfort food. This is not just about the flavour, but also the texture and the feel in the mouth too.
There are five basic tastes that we can detect: Salt, sweet, sour, bitter and umami (savoury) and then an additional two: pungent (spicy flavours) and astringent (dry/harsh/tart).
Most people will find bitter flavours unpleasant. Bitterness can be associated with food that could be considered harmful and best avoided. We tend to go for the main salt, sweet, sour and umami which are considered more of a pleasure to consume. As humans, we are pre conditioned to seek out sweet tasting food and drinks. Foods that contain a lot of artificial flavour enhancers tend to leave an unpleasant after taste, this doesn’t generally leave you wanting more.
When offering refreshments to your clients is it also best to avoid caffeine beverages as these can be rather stimulating. Most clients will come to your for relaxation, so it is best to offer calming, hydrating and pleasant drinks like herbal or fruit tea or even just plain water and served at a temperature that is expected. Sometimes, food and drink at an unexpected temperature can be a bit of a shock. For example: Most people will drink hot tea and will expect it to be hot, if served cold without warning this can be an unusual surprising taste sensation. We tend to imagine soup to be served hot, if it is cold it’s a bit tricky to wind down.
It’s also easier to eat better if the healthy option tastes good too!