Study links music and taste through food-and-wine pairings

Posted on: April 10, 2015

“Professor Charles Spence is trying to come up with a sound for salty,” writes Neil Tweedie in Saturday’s (4/4) Guardian (London). “ ‘We are not quite there yet,’ says the Oxford academic. ‘Bitter, sweet, sour—we have those. But salty is the hardest taste to embody in sound.’ … Musical pairing recognizes that our senses play off each other in ways that we do not yet fully comprehend…. Spence is confident of his findings and cites a study in which Tchaikovsky’s String Quartet No 1 in D Major turned out to be a very good match for Château Margaux 2004. Mozart’s Flute Quartet in D Major, meanwhile, was found to be the ideal adornment for Pouilly-Fumé—with drinkers enjoying their wine more when ‘paired’ music was played more than in periods of silence…. Spence stages a test in Berlin. People are given chocolate to eat and two pieces of classical music are played—one somber, one lighter. Most of those tested reported that the chocolate eaten during the somber music was more bitter, while that consumed during the lighter music tasted sweeter.” The article suggests several pairings of music and food/wine, including Château Margaux 2004 with Tchaikovsky’s String Quartet No 1 in D Major.

Posted April 10, 2015