The Essence of Gastronomy: Understanding the Flavor of Foods and Beverages, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Essence of Gastronomy

Understanding the Flavor of Foods and Beverages, 1st Edition

By Peter Klosse

CRC Press

352 pages | 24 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781482216769
pub: 2013-12-17
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780429170546
pub: 2013-12-17
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The Essence of Gastronomy: Understanding the Flavor of Foods and Beverages presents a new comprehensive and unifying theory on flavor, which answers ancient questions and offers new opportunities for solving food-related issues. It presents gastronomy as a holistic concept, focusing not only on the food and its composition but also on the human who eats it. This book defines gastronomy as the science of flavor and tasting, where flavor is a broadly interpreted objective characteristic that refers to product quality, and tasting is defined as the human perception of flavor registered by all the human senses.

Understanding tasting and flavor and how humans react to it is not merely hedonistic. It relates to larger societal issues such as nourishing the elderly and the food children eat at school, and it offers a practical advantage to the hospitality industry of comprehending why customers enjoy their food and beverages. The book presents gastronomy as a discipline that combines natural sciences and human-related sciences. Following an introduction that sets the stage for the author’s groundbreaking research on gastronomy, the book describes flavor perception, the sensorial act of tasting, how it works, and what neural systems are involved. It then focuses on understanding flavor, discussing universal flavor factors and the new flavor theory.

The book also examines food and beverages from a flavor standpoint, including the effects of ingredients and techniques that are used. It also explores liking, primarily at the flavor level, which includes practical guidelines for matching food and beverages. The final chapter looks at the interpretation of sensorial signals in the brain and addresses issues such as food choice, preferences, and palatability. Offering a new approach, this book provides readers with a roadmap for finding their way into the gastronomic world.


"…it is a volume that leads us to think of food as science flavor and taste and leads us through the intricate relationships. It is a good book that will be of interest to all those who are interested in discovering new facets of this fascinating world."

—R. Zamora, Fats & Oils, April-June 2015

"This informative volume presents a comprehensive and unifying theory on flavour, presenting gastronomy as a holistic concept that combines both natural and human-related sciences thereby focusing not only on food and its composition but also on the consumer. It is therefore highly recommended to any individuals with interests, both academic and social, in the tasting, flavour and combination of foods and beverages. Reading this volume can only enhance your gastronomic pleasure!"

—Charles J. Knill & John F. Kennedy, Chembiotech Laboratories, UK in Carbohydrate Polymers

Table of Contents


There is No Reason to Argue about Taste

Struggling with Words

Source of Pleasure

Times Have Changed

Setting the Stage

Gastronomy, the Science of Flavor and Tasting

Chemical Senses and Classification

Universal Flavor Factors

Gastronomy and Hotel Schools

Structure of This Book



Making Sense of Taste

Tasting: An Intricate Process

Tasting: What Happens in the Mouth?

The Gustatory System

The Olfactory System

The Trigeminal System

There is More than Meets the Mouth

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Components of Flavor

Are Professionals Able to Taste Better than Amateurs?



Understanding Flavor

Finding Words: Comparing Apples to Oranges

Words do Not Come Easily

Universal Flavor Factors

Building the Theoretical Model

Description of the Flavor Styles

How to Generate a Flavor Profile

The Role of the Basic Flavors

The Role of the Big Four Basic Food Molecules


Appendix: How Low-Fat Foods Get Their Texture


Flavor in the Kitchen

No Beast Is a Cook

Practice or Purpose?

Ingredients: Basic Qualities

The Essence of Cooking

Characteristics of the Principal Techniques

Other Techniques to Get or Keep Flavor

Making the Dish Complete: Sauces, Herbs and Spices

Vegetables, Fruits, and Mushrooms

Flavor Composition

Culinary Success Factors


Appendix : Influence of Preparation


The Flavor of Beverages

Aqueous Solutions

Mineral Water or Spring Water





The Effects of Grapes and Grape Growing on the Flavor of Wine

The Effects of Vinification on the Flavor of Wine

After Vinification

Beer and Wine Comparison



Matching Foods and Beverages: The Fundamentals


Old Guidelines

New Guidelines

Gustatory Effects in Matching Foods and Beverages

Mouthfeel Effects in Matching Foods and Beverages

Gastronomic Reflections



Food Appreciation and Liking


Tasting and the Brain

Food Liking and Palatability

Flavor Styles Revisited

Is Food the Stimulus or the Response?

Where It All Comes Together: The Behavioral Model of Food Choice

Introducing: Guestronomy



About the Author

Peter Klosse, Ph.D., is a professor of gastronomy at Hotel Management School Maastricht, the Netherlands, and owner of a Michelin-starred restaurant at the gastronomic five-star hotel in Apeldoorn. He founded the Academy for Gastronomy in 1991, which offers courses and training on gastronomy and wine and food. The academy is also responsible for training the sommeliers in the Netherlands.

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