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Taste or flavour?

To show that the two are different and to think about being ‘like salt’ in the lives of others

by Oliver Harrison

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To show that the two are different and to think about being ‘like salt’ in the lives of others.

Preparation and materials

  • The experiment in this assembly is from an idea by top chef Heston Blumenthal, featured in the Independent, 2 April 2008.
  • You will need a pinch of salt and a little chocolate, preferably grated.


  1. Ask a volunteer to first hold their nose, then put a small amount of chocolate in their mouth. Ask them to think about the taste, while still holding their nose. Then ask them to keep thinking about the taste as they let go of their nose.

    They won’t be able to taste anything until they let go of their nose. You might choose to blindfold the volunteer to avoid them anticipating a chocolate taste.
  2. Then repeat the experiment with the salt. Use only a tiny amount – a single grain can be tasted. This time the volunteer should be able to taste the salt straight away, even with a clamped nose!
  3. Explain that the difference is due to the fact that chocolate is a flavour and so we use our sense of smell to taste it. Salt is a taste and is detected by special things on the surface of the tongue called receptors. We can block out flavours by holding our noses but we can’t block out tastes.
  4. In the Bible Jesus says that he wants his followers to be like salt. Why does he say this? Talk about how salt makes a difference (e.g. preserving, taste-enhancing). And just like the taste of salt cannot be blocked out, good will never be overcome.
  5. Point out that a little salt can go a long way – stress health advice that we shouldn’t have much of it in our diet. A small act of kindness can add a big taste of goodness in everyone’s life.

Time for reflection


How can I be like a tiny pinch of salt today?

What small act of kindness can I do to make a big difference to other people?



Dear God,

Please help us to be like salt, bringing freshness and doing good things for those around us.



‘The best gift’ (Come and Praise, 59)

Publication date: June 2008   (Vol.10 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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