As I find myself surrounded by snow in Paris – the city of love – I’ve received news from my colleague, Sarennah Longworth-Cook, who has just been measuring chocolate on the new Morphologi 4 using the new Sharp Edge measurement mode. How apt, since we’ll be launching the new Morphologi 4 range on Valentine’s Day!
So, what can Morphologi 4 tell us about our delicious chocolatey treats?
I know we don’t all think about this sort of thing whilst we’re enjoying eating it, but the way that chocolate feels and melts in the mouth is directly attributable to the size and shape of solid particulate ingredients such as sugar.
These factors determine whether we find the chocolate smooth and creamy, or coarse and gritty. Here are some particle images from the recent morphological measurements to help explain:
Chocolate 1 – coarser texture
Chocolate 2 – smoother texture
Chocolate 1 is a brand of chocolate known for having a coarser texture, and Chocolate 2 is a brand known for having a smoother texture and more luxurious mouthfeel. The coarse texture of Chocolate 1 comes from a shorter refining time and the presence of large compound particles, known as ‘crumb’. The milk in Chocolate 2 is added as dried or powdered milk and there are no crumb particles.
Traditionally, chocolate manufacturers have focused on particle size as a measure of the mouthfeel of their product. But as manufacturers seek to improve their processes, the shape of the particles has become more significant. Shape contributes to the perceived texture of the product and the viscosity of the liquid chocolate in the production line. Angular particles of crystalline sugar can be seen in both chocolates above, and it is easy to relate angularity to a gritty texture. Shape analysis by the Morphologi 4 on over 50,000 particles in each case shows that Chocolate 2 has more elongated particles than Chocolate 1. It remains to be seen if there is a correlation between the smooth eating experience of Chocolate 2 and the particle shape.
Reluctantly moving on from the subject of chocolate, I am here in Paris for our annual ‘kick-off’ meeting with the French team, and it has been great to catch up with everyone here and introduce them to the new Morphologi 4 and Morphologi 4-ID systems. Everyone is very excited – there was an audible gasp followed by a round of applause from the team as they saw the new instruments revealed in our introductory video, which you can watch now.
Whilst you’re watching, why not also sign up to join us for our launch webinar? You’ll find out how our customers are using morphological imaging and Morphologically-Directed Raman Spectroscopy, and also hear about all the latest developments from our specialists – what’s not to love?!
Of course, whilst in Paris, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to socialize in the evenings! Thankfully, we were not spending real money at the casino! Here’s a photo of me with Severine, our digital marketing specialist, and the expert behind the Materials Talks blog!
A very happy Valentine’s Day to all of you – I hope you’ll be able to join us on the big day!