Scientists and artists have played different genres of music to aging cheese and determined that it changes the way it tastes and smells. Researchers from the Bern University of Arts assembled an audience of nine, ten-kilogram wheels of Emmental cheese before playing them different musical compositions.
The semi-firm wheels of cheese were subjected to 24 consecutive hours of either classical, hip-hop, techno, ambient, or rock and roll. There was no escape for the cheese who ‘listened’ to the music via small transmitters attached directly inside. Hip hop tracks included A Tribe Called Quest We Got it From Here, the classical playlist wouldn’t have been complete without Mozart’s The Magic Flute Opera, Rock got Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven.
HipHop makes cheese tastier
Three of the wheels skipped the music and instead were exposed to either low-, medium-, or high-frequency sound waves. One wheel was left in peaceful silence to act as the control. After the 24 hour party, the cheese was cut open and its taste tested by an independent food technologist.
Interestingly it was found that the cheese which had listened to music was milder in flavor than the other cheeses. Of the music genres, hip hop produced the most pronounced flavor profile. The experiment was a success, and the results are amazing,” Michael Harenberg, head of Bern University’s music program and lead author of the study, told Digital Trends. “The bio-acoustic impact of sound waves affects metabolic processes in cheese, to the point where a discernible difference in flavor becomes apparent — one which can even be visualized using food technology. Put simply, cheese that has been exposed to music tastes different.”
Sound influence is still unknown
After the independent expert tasted a wider panel was called in to verify. The lucky taste testing group made up of artists, chefs and politician could mainly agree that A Tribe Called Quest’s cheese was the strongest in flavor. However, the results shave left scientist puzzled. “The resonances of the music seem to influence the maturation process,” Harenberg said. “We have to investigate the exact connections in a scientific project that we are currently preparing.”
One for the next steps for the researchers is to try different subgenres of hip hop to see what changes that make. The researchers are keen to find the exact connection between the music and the cheeses flavor profile. It is still too early to think about concrete products,” Harenberg said. “But ‘Emmentaler hip-hop’ cheese with a distinctly different taste could be interesting.”
Chefs keen to experiment further
Chefs and food scientist are excited by the results and are eager to see what else music might be able to influence. Top chef Benjamin Luzuy, from French-speaking Switzerland, is delighted: “For chefs like me, these results are fascinating. This opens up new avenues for us in terms of how we can work creatively with food in the future.” The experiment also marked an important step for future collaborations between scientists and artists. The project which can be further investigated at its website is an comprehensive example of how science and art can combine for fantastic overlapping and rich results.
The city of Burgdorf, where the experiment took place was especially happy to be included in the project Dagmar Kopše, Burgdorf’s Cultural Officer, described their delight saying: “The City of Burgdorf has benefited from this project. In the glare of media attention, we have shown that we are a modern, outward-looking community and regional center and that we take a light-hearted approach to our roots and traditions.”