A tribe called queso: Cheese tastes better when exposed to hip-hop

BURGDORF, Switzerland – Exposing cheese to round-the-clock music could give it more flavor and hip-hop might be better than Mozart, Swiss researchers said on Thursday.

Nine wheels of Emmental cheese weighing 22 pounds each were placed in separate wooden crates last September to test the impact of music on flavor and aroma.

The cheese was exposed 24 hours a day to A Tribe Called Quest’s hip-hop track “We Got it From Here,” Mozart’s “Magic Flute” opera or Led Zeppelin’s rock classic “Stairway to Heaven.”

One wheel was played the throbbing techno of Vril’s “UV” and another Yello’s dark ambient piece “Monolith.”

Soundwaves at low, medium and high frequencies were played for three others while one wheel was left in peace.

“The most obvious differences were observed in strength of flavor, smell and taste,” Bern University of Arts researchers said in reporting the findings of a culinary jury which did blind tasting.

“The hip hop sample topped the list of all cheese exposed to music in terms of fruitiness…(it) was the strongest of these in terms of smell and taste.”

Maturing wheels of cheese are pictured in the K3 cellar during a media presentation of the experiment to "insonify" cheese in Burgdorf

Maturing wheels of cheese are pictured in the K3 cellar during a media presentation of the experiment to “insonify” cheese with different types of music in Burgdorf, Switzerland.

Reuters

An exciter is pictured under a maturing wheel of cheese during a media presentation of the experiment to "insonify" cheese in Burgdorf

An exciter is pictured under a maturing wheel of cheese in the K3 cellar.

Reuters

A combination of pictures shows the nine wheels of cheese during a tasting in the K3 cellar after the experiment to "insonify" cheese with different types of music by the University of the Arts in Burgdorf

The nine wheels of cheese during a tasting in the K3 cellar

Reuters

Benjamin Luzuy, a Swiss TV chief and jury member, told Reuters TV: “The differences were very clear, in term of texture, taste, the appearance, there was really something very different.”

The experiment, instead of using loudspeakers, used mini transmitters to conduct the energy of the music into the cheese.

“All the energy is directly resonating inside of the cheese,” Michael Harenberg of Bern University of Arts told Reuters.

Beat Wampfler, the cheesemaker behind the project, said the cheeses were tested twice by the jury and both times the results were more or less the same.

He said the experiment would now focus on hip-hop.

“The idea is now to take five or 10 cheeses and put hip-hop on them and then compare.”

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