Finally, science is good for something. British chef and all around food celebrity Heston Blumenthal, on his television show Heston’s Fantastical Food, ran an experiment to prove that chocolate-covered biscuits dipped in tea actually taste better than the chocolate covered biscuits not dunked in tea.
Blumenthal is one of those chefs who is into the actual chemistry of food. What he wanted to do was measure the “biscuity flavor” — the distinctive toasty, malty taste — of biscuits, which as you probably know is what the British call cookies. To really measure this taste, which comes from a compound called methylbutanol, you have to look not just at the tongue, but at the nose. Smell is an important component of flavor; the real delectability of a food is established in the nose.
So with the help of food scientists, Blumenthal developed a device called an MS-Nose. You put it … in your nose. The MS-Nose then analyzes the aromas released when you eat something to determine how intense the flavor is. And what they discovered is yes, dunking a biscuit into tea makes it taste more biscuity.
It has to do with the heat. When the flavor compounds are hotter they can travel faster. When they travel faster they are more intense. So dunkers everywhere, there is proof that you are right. And those of us who think dunking is absolutely disgusting and makes cookies taste like wet cereal, well, we are “wrong.” And happy to be so.