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Expectant mothers often listen to music during pregnancy in the hope that their baby is listening, too. And there have been countless science fair projects investigating the effects of music on plant growth. But what about cheese? Could the taste of Emmental be improved through exposure to rock, hip-hop, or classical music, or other sound frequencies altogether?
Researchers from Switzerland’s Bern University of the Arts collaborated with cheesemaker Beat Wampfler in a “culinary art experiment” involving nine wheels of maturing Emmental cheese. From September 2018 to March 2019, five cheeses each “listened” to a single song or piece of music from artists ranging from Mozart to Led Zeppelin to A Tribe Called Quest. Three others listened to various sound frequencies rather than music, and one Emmental cheese wheel was left in peace and quiet.
The cheesy findings:
- Interestingly, in a blind taste test after six months of maturation, culinary experts and food scientists from ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences agreed that the hip-hop cheese had fared the best. Listening to “Jazz (We’ve Got)” by A Tribe Called Quest for six months straight had apparently resulted in a slightly sweeter and fruiter taste.
- The reason music should affect cheese is not understood, but it might have to do with how sound vibrations affect the bacteria that age the cheese.
- Much more research will be needed on a more extensive scale to verify the results, which were not peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal.