Quantitative descriptive analysis of Italian polenta produced with different corn cultivars. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 92, 412-417
Polenta is a porridge-like dish, generally made by mixing cornmeal with salt water and stirring constantly while cooking over a low heat. It can be eaten plain, straight from the pan, or topped with various foods (cheeses, meat, sausages, fish, etc.). It is most popular in northern Italy but can also be found in Switzerland, Austria, Croatia, Argentina and other countries in Eastern Europe and South America. Despite this diffusion, there are no data concerning the sensory characteristics of this product. A research study was therefore carried out to define the lexicon for a sensory profile of polenta and relationships with corn cultivars. A lexicon with 13 sensory parameters was defined and validated before references were determined. After panel training, the sensory profiles of 12 autochthonous maize cultivars were defined. The results of this research highlighted that quantitative descriptive analysis can also be used for the sensory description of polenta, and that the defined lexicon can be used to describe the sensory qualities of polenta for both basic research, such as maize selection, and product development.