Friday, 26 February 2016

Enhancing the Chocolate Experience with Sound

There has been transitory discussion on the pairing of taste and sound. When it comes to taste and flavour perception, sound is the sense that most often gets overlooked. Though its affect on taste is not unheard of, the other senses just tend to win more of our attention

Cadbury Dairy Milk took the thesis of amplitude, frequency, volume and pitch making or breaking our perception of taste. And so, behold the pairing of chocolate and classical music; a pairing I particularly enjoy

London Contemporary Orchestra (TimeOut)
London Contemporary Orchestra developed its first ever album “The Sound of Flavourites”, exclusively for Cadbury. Each composition had been expertly crafted with carefully arranged harmonies, rhythms and bass lines; 9 Dairy Milk flavours and so 9 unique musical complements

Devastatingly, I did not attend the event, I had no idea of its existence, and even more so was that it was at LSO St Luke's, a wonderful concert hall just down the road from me. However, Cadbury wanted me to have this multi-sensory experience, and so gifted me with chocolate and guided me to this playlist

The playlist is music of the orchestra's, and what you should listen to whilst eating the Dairy Milk collection. At first there was not much perception on my behalf as to if the music was enhancing the flavour; however, when I would stop the music, I felt as if I had fallen from a cloud. I had this sense of a loss of excitement. Also, when I would play the music designed for the popping candy chocolate when trying the others, it just didn't feel right. Success! The music was affecting my experience

The music had been composed to match the characteristics of the chocolate. For the Dairy Milk "a mellow, continuous, low-pitched sound, lacking in harmonic content". For the Daim "a very bright sound with consistent pulsing throughout with higher pitched notes layered on top". For the Whole Nut "an up-beat tempo with a lot of rhythm variations". For the Rocky Mallow Road it was "a less rhythmical, more mellow sound". For the Caramel, named Smooth Sonata, it was "a smooth sound with very few rhythmical variations and relatively moderately pitched". The Oreo's was "the highest pitched one of them all but with a moderate rhythm". For the Fruit & Nut was a waltz, that "sits at the border between soft and bright, with a medium pitch and average rhythmic quality". For the Crunchie was "a high-pitched, bright tone, with a lot of rhythmical modulations", and finally the Jelly Popping Candy, "the brightest and most rhythmical sound".

In conclusion, this Cadbury campaign is inspirational and admirable. The idea of the multi-sensory experience is ah-may-zing, but that needs to be the norm, it's 2016. We care as much about how our food looks, as we do in how it tastes (with the exception of craft chocolate, as taste and aroma are paramount to me). We take great pleasure in making what we eat to be something special, it's often ritualised, we love creating a moment, being in that moment, making that moment worth taking a photo of. So why stop at the four senses? (taste, sight, smell, touch)

Of course, it's normal for people to listen to music when eating a meal, but it's that importance of it being the right sound that is overlooked. From now on, I advise you to take great care in your choice of music or background noise to enhance your gustatory pleasure. Let the music reflect the characteristics of your food

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