When we eat we use all of our senses and each one contributes to how we perceive flavour, even if we don’t realise it. Preconceptions of what food should taste like have a big part to play – so our brains can be easily tricked. Here are five sense-sational food facts to put your taste buds on edge.

Did you know the colour red can make your food taste sweeter?

Did you know the colour red can make your food taste sweeter?

1. Take a long hard look

We don’t always realise how what we see influences our perceptions of flavour. According to renowned food scientist, Dr Rachel Edwards Stuart, the colour of the light under which our food is served, or even the colour of the plate, can affect the flavour. Red can make your food taste sweeter and green is associated with acidity.

2. The sound of music

According to experts, even the music that’s playing in the background can affect the flavour of your food without you knowing.

mix 3

If you are a non-taster you can eat whatever you want…

3. Are you a super-taster, a taster or a non-taster?

There are three classes of people in the foodie world: super-tasters, tasters and non-tasters. This roughly translates as – fussy eaters, eaters and those who’ll eat anything!

Super-tasters have more taste receptors, so everything tastes stronger; for example, more salty or bitter. They’re likely to be perceived as the “fussy eaters” of your group – unable to drink coffee or eat anything spicier than a korma (sucks to be them). So, while it might sound like a derogatory term, non-tasters are able to eat whatever they want and will ask for seconds. Depending on your cooking abilities, of course.

4. Smell it

It’s a known fact that when you have a cold you can’t taste anything, and it feels like life isn’t worth living anymore: because what’s the point of eating blue cheese if it all tastes like cardboard? A lot of what we associate with our taste is actually linked with smell – some think it’s as much as 80%!

White chocolate and caviar are food soul mates, apparently

White chocolate and caviar are food soul mates, apparently…

5. Food soul mates

Did you know it’s possible to match foods based on their aromas? Using the (almost) scientific technique of flavour pairing, chefs and mixologists are able to create unusual and surprising flavour combinations. For example, Heston Blumenthal serves white chocolate and caviar together as part of his tasting menu, as both contain the same aroma compound.

At your next dinner party, why not try serving your friends some unusual combinations, who knows, you might strike gold!

Thanks go to Ryvita and food and flavour scientist Dr Rachel Edwards-Stuart, who has been working with the team to create new recipes to fill your lunch with colour and flavour. 

Experiment with Ryvita’s new lunch recipes created by Dr Rachel Edwards-Stuart

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