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Scientists Say Blasting Music at Cheese Will Alter Its Flavor

News Food + Drink
by Eben Diskin Mar 19, 2019

Maybe you don’t have to go to culinary school to make truly delicious food. Maybe all you have to do is blast music right next to your food, and that’ll do all the work for you. It might sound ridiculous, but it actually works, at least when it comes to cheese. Swiss cheesemaker Beat Wampfler and a team of researchers from Bern University of Arts exposed nine 22-pound wheels of Emmental cheese to endless loops of music, for six straight months. Each wheel “heard” a different sound, from varying genres, and it actually altered their favors, aroma, and appearance significantly.

One wheel of cheese was exposed to classical music with Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” one listened to rock with Led Zeppelin, and another was exposed to hip hop with A Tribe Called Quest. To make sure several musical genres were represented, one wheel listened to techno music and another to the instrumental song “Monolith” by Yello. Three wheels were exposed to simple high, medium, and low frequency tones, and one wheel aged in silence.

The cheese that listened to A Tribe Called Quest’s “Jazz (We’ve Got)” had a stronger aroma and flavor. According to a press release by the research team, food technologists examined the food and determined that overall, cheese exposed to music had a milder flavor than the same cheese not exposed to music. After a blind taste test by culinary experts, these findings were confirmed.

Wampfler explained that the reason for these differences is because each type of music has its own altering effect on the cheese’s bacterial structure. “I am convinced,” he says, “that humidity, temperature or nutrients are not the only things that influence taste. Sounds, ultrasounds or music can also have physical effects.” Michael Harenberg, director of Bern University’s music program, supports this assertion, saying “there is a field called sonochemistry that looks at the influences of sound waves, the effect of sound on solid bodies.”

If you’re wondering what cheese was Wampfler’s favorite, hip hop blew the rest out of the water. He told SwissInfo that the hip-hop cheese was “remarkably fruity, both in smell and taste, and significantly different from the other samples.”


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