Molecular gastronomist chef Heston Blumenthal has revealed the trick he uses to make wine taste better: imagine someone you love when you drink it.
Blumenthal, who runs the three Michelin star Fat Duck in Bray and the two star Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge, recently revealed his findings to the Sydney Morning Herald.
He told the Australian paper that the trick to making any wine taste better is to picture someone “you love dearly” while you’re sipping it. To test the theory, he said you should then take another sip while thinking of someone you actively dislike.
The difference in the taste of the wine should be “marked”, according to the chef, who said that drinking wine while thinking of someone you don’t like is likely to give the wine a bitter aftertaste.
Blumenthal believes the difference in how we perceive the wine is down to the link between taste and memory, which he discovered while researching the relationship between the brain and the gut with the University of Marseilles.
“It might be the single greatest discovery that I’ve ever made,” Blumenthal told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Scientists and chefs have been working together more closely in recent years to enhance diners’ enjoyment of food by offering multi-sensory experiences.
New research from Columbia University has found that it is possible to manipulate flavour perception by activating certain regions of the brain.
Charles Spence, professor of experimental psychology at the University of Oxford, has worked with Heston and Spanish chef Ferran Adrià on flavour perception experiments in a bid to enhance the dining experience.
He recently discovered that high-pitched music enhances the flavour of sweet and sour foods, while low-pitched sounds enhance bitter flavours.
Spence believes in the future we’ll be eating insects without a second thought, sipping soup with musical spoons and enjoying tasting menus by famous film directors. He also thinks scent will be used more frequently in the dining experience to set the scene before the food arrives.
“Most creative restaurants will incorporate some multi-sensory elements in the future. Eating out should be a theatrical, emotional experience.
“Fine dining used to be like going to a modern art gallery: you’d eat off a white plate on a white tablecloth in a hushed environment – things have moved on a lot since then,” he told db in an interview in 2016.