Have you ever eaten a grilled burger while warming yourself next to a roaring campfire, or had a glass of wine while enjoying a cool breeze? It’s a taste you’ll always remember and nothing can compare, amiright? It turns out that not all you are tasting is in your tastebuds.
Multi-sensory taste experiments are nothing new for neuroscientists like Professor Charles Spence, who runs the Crossmodal Research Laboratory at Oxford University. In an interview with BBC News, Spence said, “Neurogastronomy is based on the realization that everything we eat or drink is processed by our senses. We see it, we hear it, we smell it, we taste it, we feel it. All those senses come together.” Today, we’re revealing six companies that are using neurogastronomy to give consumers a whole new tasting experience.
1. Fat Duck: Spence has worked with experimental chef Heston Blumenthal on how sound can change flavor perception, and the two have come up with a new dish for his three-Michelin-starred restaurant, Fat Duck. Upon ordering “The Sound of the Sea,” diners are brought an iPod shuffle playing actual sounds of the sea, and a few minutes later, the seafood dish is brought out. The seashore sounds in your ears actually enhance the flavor of the seafood. (via Pocket Fork)
2. Diageo: Whisky drinkers, listen up: London-based alcoholic beverage company Diageo is opening a whole new window of creativity in the food industry. Diageo has discovered that changing a room’s atmosphere can alter the taste of their single-malt whisky. They found that a room bathed in tones of green, soaked in sounds of spring and decorated with fresh grass actually makes the whisky taste grassier. (via BBC News)
3. ElBulli: Spence also worked with the infamous Ferran Adrià of elBulli, who performed a sensory experiment with plate color and shape. Adrià plated a strawberry mousse dessert on white and black plates, which he served to his diners. Those who ate their dessert from a white plate found that it tasted 10% sweeter than those who ate the same dessert from a black plate. Lesson learned: If the dessert you made for your dinner guests is too sweet, serve it on a black, square plate. (via Baum Whiteman, photo via Matthew Lloyd/Getty)
4. House of Wolf: At the House of Wolf, a pop-up restaurant in London, customers were given identical desserts and were invited to use their mobile phones to ring one of two numbers that played either a high-pitched flute and piano music or instruments with deeper tones. The higher notes evoked sweetness, while the lower tones elicited bitterness. (via BBC News)
5. Nestlé: Even Nestlé has been experimenting with neurogastronomy. Their research in “mouth geometry” has concluded that round pieces of chocolate melt better than square pieces. Round pieces also emit a different flavor profile, since round shapes fit the shape of people’s tongues better than square ones. (via Nestle)
6. The Colour Palate: This one is really speaking our language. A London popup from The Art of Dining called The Colour Palate, was a dining experience where the food, drink, room, music, table, cutlery and mood changed color with each course. Our mouths and eyes are watering. (Photo via WGSN)
Have you tried multi-sensory eating? Let us know in the comments below!