Science: Cheese tastes stronger when injected with hip-hop

Expectant mothers often put headphones on their bellies for their babies to listen to as they develop, but it’s a little less common to see cheesemakers doing the same with their wheels of Brie and Camembert.

Nothing wrong with seeing what would happen if they did, said one team of Swiss researchers. The scientists placed nine 22-pound wheels of Emmental cheese, a medium-hard type of Swiss cheese, in separate wooden crates to test the impact of music on flavor and aroma.

The first question: Would music have an impact at all?

It did. A jury of food technologists vouched for that fact after two blind tastings.

“The most obvious differences were observed in strength of flavor, smell, and taste,” the researchers, from Bern University of Arts, said, noting that the music-listening cheese tended to have a milder flavor, with one exception.

That leads to the second question: What genre of music, then, would affect cheese the most?

The cheeses were exposed 24/7 for six months to different songs, including hip-hop collective A Tribe Called Quest’s “We Got it From Here,” Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and Mozart’s “Magic Flute.” Reuters reports that other genres represented were techno and dark ambient music.

Mini transmitters conveyed the energy of the music to the cheese, meaning that the music was “played” directly inside the cheese. All in all, the songs encompassed soundwaves of low, medium and high frequencies.

And as every good scientific study has a control, one wheel of cheese enjoyed peace and quiet. The cheese had been produced at the same time, with milk from the same farmers, and was processed in the same vat.

So which genre, then, made for stronger cheese?

“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,” the researchers said.

Next up is a study that focuses on different varieties of hip-hop.

“The cheese can also work as a transmitter between different people who like hip-hop or who like folk or who like rock ‘n’ roll,” said Beat Wampfler, who worked with the Bern University team, to NPR. “So this can also help bring society a little bit together.”

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