Recently my partner and I were gifted a variety box of Sees candies (one of those assorted boxes that contains individual chocolates of different types with different fillings and shapes). My partner referred to these as different "flavors" of chocolate candies, but this word struck me as not quite right. I felt as though too much about the candies were different to be chalked up solely to differencies in flavor (some have nuts, others have caramel, different layerings, different textures, etc). We're curious what the experts on this forum think. When is the word "flavor" appropriate to describe different types of food/drink? Some good/bad examples would be really helpful. :)
When is it appropriate to use the word "flavor" to describe different types of food/drink?
I'd be tempted to refer to the candies as different confections rather than flavors.– KillingTimeApr 9, 2022 at 21:52
1Different varieties or kinds would work here too, perhaps not as specific to this case as confections. There may be some cases where you have a vanilla creme and a raspberry creme, and those I would refer to those as different flavors. You'd never refer to a hamburger and a cheeseburger as different flavors of burgers.– jimm101Apr 9, 2022 at 22:04
Don't you mean you were given a box of candy?– tchrist ♦Apr 9, 2022 at 23:07
@tchrist — If it was given as a gift, then it was gifted. :-)– ralph.mApr 9, 2022 at 23:17
@ralph.m Things given are by definition gifts.– tchrist ♦Apr 10, 2022 at 14:15
The dictionary definitions of flavor (US spelling) or flavour (UK spelling). are broader than just the taste. It is, of course, true that the things that matter are more than just taste: there is also texture, a key contribution to a luxury chocolate. Smell is also an element.
However, nuts do contribute to the taste as well as the flavour (pardon the Britishism) of a chocolate from a box of chocs.
A chocolate with nuts will, it is true, contribute a difference of texture as well as of taste.
If you are discussing the qualities of different chocolates, taste, texture, smell and even appearance are all relevant. But confectioners, in identifying the different ingredients of a box of chocolates use the word 'flavour' as a convenient shorthand.
In fact, the word flavour has broadened to become applied to all sorts of non-gustatory topics, including sub-atomic physics: Merriam Websters cites this use:-
a property which distinguishes different types of elementary particles (such as quarks or neutrinos)
Less obscurely, it refers to it use to distinguish
a characteristic or prédominent quality // the ethnic flavour of a neighbourhood
This is one of many examples of how words can have a life of their own.