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Pastes, gastronomy and flavours


Data used to investigate how we can understand the fundamental differences and commonalities in a set of aromatic blends (mixes of spices, herbs, and other aromatic ingredients). The data set combines sensory analysis with gas chromatography for aroma profiling, as well as meta-information including ingredients and geographical and cultural aspects.


Table 1. Overview of the manufactured pastes.



Main ingredients

Aqueous Based

BBQ Chipotle Blend

chipotle, panela, apple vinegar

Jerk Paste

onion, vinegar, scotch bonnet pepper, allspice, black pepper 

Juniper and Ant paste

juniper berry, thyme oil, ant, verbena, lemon thyme, woodruff

Tomato/ Epazote

tomato, epazote, piquin chili

Pickling Blend

coriander seed, vinegar, juniper berry, bay leaf

Vihna d'alhos Base

white wine, onion, paprika, garlic

Oil Based

Afro Bahian Base

coconut milk, cassava, green pepper, cilantro

Aji Panca Adobo

aji panca, beer, grape seed oil, soy sauce

Ligurian Pesto

parmesan, pine nut, French beans, basil, potato, garlic


shallot, lemongrass, galangal, garlic, red chile, shrimp paste, coriander seed, cumin, peppercorn, clove, cardamom

Mole Negro

guajillo chilli, mulato pasilla chilli, chile chipotle mora, sesame seed, peanut, almond, walnut, pecan, raisin, semi sweet role, cinnamon, black pepper, clove, cumin, thyme, Mexican oregano, bay leaf


pumpkin seed, tomato, corn, achiote, epazote, Mexican oregano


achiote, masa, cumin, pepper

Salsa verde

capers, flat leaf parsley, olive oil, anchovy, lemon and rind

Dry Based

Berbere mix

coriander, clove, fenugreek, black pepper, cayenne, ginger, allspice, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg


hazelnut, cumin, sesame, coriander seed, black pepper

Quatre Epice

black pepper, cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg


oregano, thyme, sumac, sesame seed, cumin

Shichimi Togarashi

Szechuan peppercorn, buckwheat, koji, orange, garlic, nori, red chilli pepper, ginger, sesame seed

Chinese Five-Spice

star anise, Szechuan peppercorn, fennel seed, clove, coriander seed, cinnamon

Panch Puran

fenugreek seed, nigella, cumin seed, black mustard seed, fennel seed

Garam Masala

white pepper, cinnamon, clove, cardamom, nutmeg, fennel seed, coriander seed, bay leaf

Dairy Based

Fresh dill Marinade

crème fraiche, Dijon mustard, dill, honey, fennel seed


yogurt (cow’s milk), onion, graham flour, ginger, cumin, mustard seed, turmeric powder

Aji Escabeche/Peanuts

aji escabeche, huacatay, peanut, milk, crème fraiche, fresh cheese

Tikka masala

yogurt (cow’s milk), onion, ginger, garlic, paprika, coriander seed, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, tomato


NFL fermented bean

black soy bean inoculated with Aspergillus oryzae, icing sugar, food molasses, white wine vinegar, black garlic

Lacto blueberry

blueberry, sea salt


yellow peas, buckwheat koji, sea salt


For each of the 29 aromatic blends we thus have the following information available (Figure 2):

  • Sensory map – Using the so-called projective mapping to characterize the samples. These measurements are       collected in a matrix of dimension 29 x 52 (26 x 2 coordinate axes).
  • Sensory descriptors (Words) - In addition to the normal projective mapping, there are also a number of descriptors/words, that sensory evaluators have attached to the samples. After grouping and stemming of the original set of descriptors, this set of data consist of a matrix with 29 rows and 113 columns.
  • Aroma profiling - Through headspace sampling, GC-MS analysis was used to obtain an aroma profile for each paste. The aroma profile consisted of the relative integrated peak area (relative concentration) of 122 compounds and is called Odor chemicals (Appendix 2). The compounds found with available sensory descriptors are collected in a smaller matrix (29 x 25 named Odor descriptors).
  • Meta-data - name, recipe (or rather the fraction of each ingredient, but called recipe here), provides an approximate assessment of cultural identity of each recipe and base (oil, aqueous, dry, fermented and dairy). The details of these are given in Appendix 3.


Data structure


Figure. Overview of all data blocks available


If you use these data, please add a reference to this paper:

xxxx, 23, 75–84 (2015) 


Data are available in MATLAB format (dataset object of They can be downloaded here

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