Chocolate mousse is an iconic French dessert. Thought to have been invented by the 19th century post-Impressionist painter Henri Toulouse-Lautrec – and termed at that time a ‘mayonnaise de chocolat’ – the pudding has since found its place onto restaurant menus around the world.
The classic version is made with aerated egg white, chocolate, sugar, and water.
The adoption of chocolate mousse by food manufacturers has since cemented the dessert’s position in the global mainstream. Today, supermarket retailers stock a wide range of chocolate mousse products, by brands including Nestlé-owned Aero, Mondelēz-owned Cadbury, and Andros’ Bonne Maman.
When mousse is manufactured for large-scale commercialisation, shelf stability is generally obtained by emulsifying and aerating a mixture of ingredients, including protein, fat, sugars, and water.
Storage of such products, however, may still be an issue, according to confectionery giant Mars, Inc, which says that many products are kept in a frozen or refrigerated condition.
“Such products may have a desirable ‘mouthfeel’ when cold, but become too soft or sticky if allowed to warm to room temperature,” noted Mars. “They are also usually microbiologically unstable due to their high water activity and/or require aseptic packing.”
A shelf- and ambient-stable mousse
In response to such stability issues, Mars has developed, and patented, a new shelf-stable mousse, which it says has the ‘specific characteristics’ of a refrigerated mousse, and may not require aseptic packing.
The shelf-stable mousse is made using an aerated fat-free composition of a protein whipping agent, water, and a sugar syrup, with at least one fat-containing substance.
“The applicants have found that by aerating only a water containing fat-free composition, which is then admixed with fat-containing substance, a beneficial light and soft textured mousse may be produced,” wrote Mars in the patent.
This ‘light’ and ‘soft’ mouthfeel – generally only found in refrigerated mousses – is maintained in Mars’ invention, even if stored at an ambient temperature, the company continued.
Further, as the mousse is both shelf-stable and ambient-stable, it retains microbial stability even without aseptic packaging.
‘A long residual mouth coat’
Other benefits relate to fat content, the product’s ‘softness’, and mouth coating.
According to Mars, sensory tests revealed the novel mousse product to have ‘higher levels of stickiness’ or ‘stringiness’ than some other products, as well as a ‘long residual mouth coat’.
“These characteristics may be interpreted by some consumers as giving the product what may be described as a ‘creamy’ or cloying texture of taste. This may be appealing to some consumers.”
The invention is also a ‘soft’ mousse, with a relatively low ‘hardness’ or firmness. And the texture achieved is ‘spoonable’, but still thick.
Concerning fat content, Mars’ novel confectionery product is regarded ‘moisture continuous’, which allows for a lower calorie or energy density than a corresponding ‘fat-continuous’ product.
Source: WIPO International Patent No. 20200000116
Published: 2 January 2020. Filed: 8 February 2018.
Title: ‘Novel confectionery product’
Author: Mars, Inc. – Mike Zietek, Kristina Lodaite, and Nicos Charalambous