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Listen for your supper

Diners at one of Britain's top restaurants are being invited to listen to MP3 players as they eat because its chef believes sound can make the flavours more intense.

18 Apr 2007

Heston Blumenthal already serves up unusual dishes such as snail porridge and bacon and egg ice cream at the Michelin three-starred Fat Duck in Bray, west of London.

But now he is pushing the boundaries of gastronomy even further by asking customers to listen to the sound of breaking waves to heighten the taste sensation of a new dish called Sound of the Sea.

The dish consists of seafood such as baby eels, razor clams and oysters plus seaweed on a bed of tapioca, which resembles sand.

Blumenthal told Square Meal magazine said he had conducted a series of tests with experimental psychologist Charles Spence at Oxford University three years ago, which indicated that sound could enhance the sense of taste.

"We ate an oyster while listening to the sea and it tasted stronger and saltier than when we ate it while listening to barnyard noises, for example," he said.

Other dishes currently being developed by Blumenthal include whisky-flavoured sweet gums served up on a map of Scotland and a sculpture of a rosebush hung with crystallised rose petals.

Blumenthal is an advocate of molecular gastronomy – the application of scientific principles in the kitchen – and often uses stills and water baths to prepare food.

Credit: AFP
Picture: AFP

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