Photo: So Delicious
A fascinating scientific experiment reveals an unexpected dimension of food: the taste of cheese is influenced by the sound of music. But how? And what does that mean for other foods? We’ll tell you right now.
So can the hills be literally alive with the sound of music?
It would appear so. Music is one of those things that can influence us and our environment in many ways, and a lot of those we probably don’t even know yet. But some new information is starting to emerge that could possibly change the growing of food, the prepping and the cooking in restaurants.
Students from Switzerland’s Bern University of the Arts (HKB) teamed up with local cheese house Käsehaus K3 and the city of Burgdorf for this unique experiment that ultimately revealed how the taste of cheese is different depending on the music it listens to during maturation. The students coordinated by Michael Harenberg, director of studies at Sound Arts HKB, tested eight semi-hard cheese wheels with different types of music. A ninth wheel was designated the control sample and it aged in silence.
The taste of cheese – sweet after hip hop
So what did the cheese listen to? The playlist looked like this:
- Ambient: Yello – “Monolith”
- Classical: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – “The Magic Flute”
- Techno: Vril – “UV”
- Rock: Led Zeppelin – “Stairway to Heaven”
- Hip-hop: A Tribe Called Quest – “Jazz (We’ve Got)”
The maturation process for the cheese took about six months. After that, a panel of specialist judges was summoned to taste the cheeses and offer opinions. Among the judges were Burgdorf Mayor Stefan Berger, insect cook Andrea Staudacher, artist Celia Sidler, and gastronomic entrepreneur Benjamin Luzuy.
The researchers claim that not only did the judges feel slight differences in the taste of cheese exposed to different kinds of music, but also that, once tested in the laboratory, the cheese wheels had slight differences. One example of the taste difference? Cheese exposed to hip hop ended up being slightly sweet!
So what does that mean for the food industry? This, of course, is a pretty small study and the results would have to be analyzed and replicated multiple times. But if it’s true that listening to music can influence food, then the applications are endless. Maybe chefs aren’t supposed to yell in restaurants? Maybe cultivated food needs some harmonic notes to grow stronger? Who knows? But this is probably just the beginning in the collaboration of music and food.