Why does leftover pizza taste so good?
If you can't finish a whole takeaway pizza the night before, be sure to keep a couple of slices in the fridge for tomorrow.
A night in the fridge gives the delicious pizza flavours time to merge and mellow in a satisfying way. The pizza keeps its structure when cold, and the tomato layer prevents fat in the cheese topping from seeping into the dough base.
Pizza temperature affects taste perception, with cold foods generally having less intense flavours than warm ones. At temperatures between 15 and 35°C, heat-sensitive channels in the tongue’s sweet and bitter taste receptors open wide, setting off a chain reaction to send strong signals to the brain.
At lower temperatures, the channels barely open and the signals are weaker. Salty and sour taste receptors are not affected by temperature in the same way and cold pizza can actually taste saltier, and very, very tasty.
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Asked by: Phil Black, Oxford
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Dr Emma Davies is a science writer and editor with a PhD in food chemistry from the University of Leeds. She writes about all aspects of chemistry, from food and the environment to toxicology and regulatory science.
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