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restaurants ¤ food
What's more, noise levels over 100 decibels
suppress our appreciation of sweet and salty
¥avours, but our appreciation of umami
increases with high volumes. It's one reason
that aeroplane food tastes so bland, although
British Airways is trying to counter that with
its new digital seasoning menu: passengers
will receive headphones playing sounds
specically chosen to go with their dishes.
Sea and hear
Of course, the most famous digital seasoning
is Heston Blumenthal's dish the Sound of
the Sea, which Spence helped
to develop. Diners eat edible
'sand' and seafood 'foam' while
listening on headphones to waves
crashing; the seaside sounds intensify the
salty seafood ¥avours, as well as forcing
diners to focus on what they are eating.
If all this sounds like a ¥ash in the pan,
consider that the world's rst sonic wine bar,
The Auricle, recently opened in Christchurch,
New Zealand, matching wines to specic
music. That's just the beginning, says Spence.
"What would happen if we brought in an
actual musician to accompany a course?
And there's so much that can be done with
iPads and tablets: tasting menus where the
soundscape changes every two courses, for
instance." Spence's most recent book, The
Perfect Meal, has a chapter about sound and
he's currently working on a glass that plays
music as you tilt it to your lips. That's not just
music to our ears - but to our tastebuds too.