Why does pizza taste so good? | The Conversation

By November 4, 2019Flavour, Food science

One slice is never enough. Radu Bercan/Shutterstock.com

Pizza is one of the world’s most popular foods.

In the U.S., 350 slices are eaten every second, while 40% of Americans eat pizza at least once a week.

There’s a reason why pizza is so popular. Humans are drawn to foods that are fatty and sweet and rich and complex. Pizza has all of these components. Cheese is fatty, meat toppings tend to be rich, and the sauce is sweet.

Pizza toppings are also packed with a compound called glutamate, which can be found in the tomatoes, cheese, pepperoni and sausage. When glutamate hits our tongues, it tells our brains to get excited – and to crave more of it. This compound actually causes our mouths to water in anticipation of the next bite.

Then there are the combinations of ingredients. Cheese and tomato sauce are like a perfect marriage. On their own, they taste pretty good. But according to culinary scientists, they contain flavor compounds that taste even better when eaten together.

Another quality of pizza that makes it so delicious: Its ingredients become brown while cooking in the oven.

Foods turn brown and crispy when we cook them because of two chemical reactions.

The first is called caramelization, which happens when the sugars in a food become brown. Most foods contain at least some sugar; once foods are between 230 and 320 degrees, their sugars begin to turn brown. Caramel is made from several thousand compounds, making it one of the most complex food products. On a pizza, ingredients like onions and tomatoes become caramelized during baking, making them rich and sweet and flavorful. That brown and crispy crust is also the result of the dough caramelizing.

While the meat and cheese on your pizza also get brown, this is due to a different process called the “Maillard reaction,” which is named after French chemist Louis-Camille Maillard.

When pizza bakes in the oven, the ingredients become browned – and even tastier. Andrewshots/Shutterstock.com

The Maillard reaction occurs when the amino acids in high-protein foods like cheese and pepperoni react with the sugars in those foods when heated. Pepperonis that become crispy with curled edges, and cheese that browns and bubbles, are examples of the Maillard reaction at work.

With bread, cheese and tomato sauce as its base, pizza might seem like a simple food.

It isn’t. And now, the next time you’re about to devour a slice, you’ll be able to appreciate all of the elements of pizza that excite our brains, thrill our taste buds and cause our mouths to water.

Source: Curious Kids: Why does pizza taste so good?

Request a pizza, cheese or tomato sauce flavourPizza-related articles
Pet & feed
January 28, 2020

Pet Food Trends in 2020 Focus On Fruit, Alternative Proteins, and Healthy Options | Food Processing

People love their pets and are willing to spend serious money keeping them healthy. It’s no surprise then that key trends in pet food processing mirror trends in human food:…
Beverage trendsCoffee and Tea
January 28, 2020

Bat spit coffee on trend in Madagascar | Panorama | Ammon News

In the rich volcanic soils of central Madagascar’s Itasy province grows a rare and fragrant coffee coveted by bats and humans alike. The twist: humans want it even more after…
Flavour trends
January 28, 2020

Mystery flavors, traditional tastes trending in 2020 | Food Business News

Photo: Adobe Stock One of the leading flavor trends in the new year is a mystery. Brands are challenging consumers to guess the correct flavor of cookies, candy, chips, beverages…
Multisensory
January 28, 2020

Meat-free food firm launches new bacon-scented ‘scratch and sniff’ patch to help vegans | Daily Mail Online

Tommy Fury unveils the new Meat Patch, which has been designed by plant-based food company Strong Roots to help people curb their meat cravings when trying to adopt a more…
Multisensory
January 27, 2020

Multisensory food cutlery that enhance our perception of food | Dezeen

Jennifer Hahn Jiggling bowls and musical plates feature in a collection of tableware, designed by Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Teresa Berger to help diners reconsider how their food is produced and consumed.The eight pieces in the range…
Food trends
January 27, 2020

Banana flour, monk fruit are top food trends for 2020 | thedailytimes.com

Whether it’s clothing, slang or internet memes, each new year inevitably brings new trends. One area you may not expect to find trends, though, is food. Because food is food,…
FlavourInteresting
January 27, 2020

The Voice of Raisin: A whiff down memory lane | Trail Daily Times

The Trail Times is introducing a new column. Benjamin Howard recently moved to Trail and, with a background as a sommelier, will be writing about his passion – wine –…
Beverage trends
January 27, 2020

Innova Market Insights spotlights “waves of change” in soft drinks innovation | Food Ingredient First

Over the past ten to twenty years, the ripples of change in the global soft drinks market have risen to become “tidal waves of innovation, with new categories emerging constantly…
BakeryFlavour trends
January 27, 2020

Free Bakery trends report, flavours and formats set to shape the market in 2020 | British Baker

Grown-up flavours and home delivery are among the trends set to shape the bakery market in 2020. British Baker quizzed experts from t... Visit www.bakeryinfo.co.uk today for more information! Source:…
Multisensory
January 27, 2020

Bacon-scented patch developed ‘to help vegans and vegetarians with meat cravings’ | VT

The unusual device, not dissimilar to a nicotine patch, was invented by Charles Spence, a professor of experimental psychology at the University of Oxford. His area of expertise is sensory…
Food scienceInteresting
January 25, 2020

Does The Keto Diet Really Make You Smell? | Refinery29

Even though it was named one of the worst health trends of 2019, the keto diet is still (somehow) going strong. The low-carb, high-fat, high-protein eating plan was originally developed to…
Food trendsMultisensory
January 25, 2020

Rainbow chard, exotic berries and blood oranges all tipped to feature prominently at London restaurants in 2020, according to NCGM report | Fruitnet

Rainbow chard is tipped to brighten up dinner plates. Photo: Sarah Witherby London restaurants will focus on serving more colourful and flavoursome produce this year, research by New Covent Garden…
Snack
January 25, 2020

Chips with chocolate sauce — will you try the hot new food trend? | The Times

Tony Turnbull, centre, with Pat Bingley and Glyn GordonKATIE WILSON FOR THE TIMES I can’t say I was looking forward to a recent taste test for this paper, or at…
Beverage trends
January 24, 2020

The drinks we’ll be sipping on in 2020 | IOL

The drinks we'll be sipping on in 2020. Picture: Toni Cuenca from Pexels From classic cocktails to cucumber juice and naturally flavoured sodas, here’s what we’ll be wetting our whistles…
Food trendsSnack
January 24, 2020

Nostalgic Foods Trend in 2020 | Food Institute Focus

Consumers are seeking out foods and flavors that bring back fond childhood memories, according to Kroger's Top Five Trends for 2020. New foods are being added to grocery store shelves…
Food trends
January 24, 2020

Kroger Unveils 2020 Food Trends, New Podcast | Progressive Grocer

Five 2020 trends include NOWstalgia, food as medicine, flexitarian foods, global flavors and food for good. Picking the brains of the chefs, food experts and product developers behind its roster…
FlavourFlavour trends
January 24, 2020

Flavor Tracking: Where Are They Now? | IFT.org

With each new year comes a deluge of trend reports from experts in the food and beverage industry covering a range of topics from foodservice and artificial intelligence to colors,…
ChocolateDairy
January 24, 2020

The New Häagen-Dazs Ruby Cacao Collection Is the Latest in the Pink Chocolate Trend | Redtri

All photos: Courtesy of Häagen-Dazs Tuck the kids into bed and treat yourself to a new chocolate treat unlike anything you’ve had before. Pink chocolate is officially a trend and…
Food scienceMeat, fish and seafood
January 24, 2020

Genesus Global Technical Report: genetic effort to improve pork sensory traits | The Pig Site

© Genesus Consumers` willingness to pay more or re-purchasing pork is driven by past eating satisfaction, which is mainly associated with juiciness, tenderness, flavour and overall opinion, which are usually…
Food scienceFood trends
January 23, 2020

The art and science of tracking food trends | Food Business News

Source: Adobe Stock Among the top foods predicted to post strong growth over the next four years are cultured butter, hard seltzer, turmeric and Tajin seasoning, according to Datassential. Kombucha,…