Study Suggests Hip-Hop Makes Cheese Taste Better

March 19, 2019 by TWN Staff
A variety of goat cheese, offered by cheese artisan Margie Weber, the artisan behind Rocky Oaks Goat Creamery, photographed Wednesday, Nov 14, 2018 in Clovis, Calif. (Eric Paul Zamora/Fresno Bee/TNS)

Want to make a sweet and favorable cheese? Then be prepared to get your hip hop on.

At least that’s the conclusion of Swiss researchers in Switzerland who spent six months playing a variety of musical genres to maturing cheeses.

The study, entitled Cheese in Surround Sound, was carried out by researchers at the Bern University of the Arts, in the Swiss city of Burgdorf, and Käsehaus K3, a local cheese house and club.

Put simply, the collaborators found that cheese that has been exposed to music tastes different from cheese that hasn’t been.

Michael Harenberg, director of Sound Arts studies at the university, said in a written statement that during the experiment eight cheeses maturing at Käsehaus K3 were exposed to a different sound over a period of six-and-a-half months.

These sounds included everything from Led Zeppelin to hip hop to  Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” to techno music and ambient sounds.

Once matured, the cheeses were analyzed by professional food technologists from the ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences and submitted to a panel of highly qualified culinary jurors in a blind taste test.

The ZHAW Food Perception Research Group concluded that the cheeses exposed to music had a generally mild flavor compared to the control test sample.

Their report also confirmed that the cheese exposed to hip hop music displayed a discernibly stronger smell and stronger, fruitier taste than the other test samples.

Upon tasting the cheeses, a star-studded panel of judges, featuring artists, chefs and politicians concluded that clear differences could be discerned not only in laboratory analyses, but also in terms of the taste.

For example, cheeses that were played hip-hop music or low frequencies were both described as slightly sweet.

“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,” said Swiss-born top chef Benjamin Luzuy.

Bern University of the Arts researchers and Käsehaus K3 are now exploring ways to develop their new acoustic approach to cheesemaking.

They are also encouraging others to conduct additional research to confirm their findings.

“As composers and musicians, it has been thrilling for us to carry out this project in Burgdorf and to develop the acoustic installation. We are delighted with the results,” Harenberg said.

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