A Swiss cheesemaker has embarked on quite an unusual experiment-- he is testing the effect that music can have on Emmental, one of Switzerland's most famous cheeses.
Beat Wampfler, a veterinarian by day, turns into a cheese whiz at night, trying to make his cheese taste better and better. From his 19th century cellar in Burgdorf, this cheese enthusiast is testing how music can influence his Emmental, according to AFP.
Wampfler started his experiment back in September, and he has been playing songs from bands like Led Zeppelin and A Tribe Called Quest during the cheese making process. His study has been named "Sonic cheese: experience between sound and gastronomy". Students from the Bern University of the Arts are helping out with the experiment, and they are hoping the results might show how music can change the flavor of the cheese.
“Bacteria is responsible for the formation of the taste of cheese, with the enzymes that influence its maturity,” Wampfler told AFP. “I am convinced that humidity, temperature or nutrients are not the only things that influence taste… Sounds, ultrasounds or music can also have physical effects.”
The researchers from the University of Arts are intrigued by the the effects of sound, especially as scientists have recently been experimenting with how ultrasound can affect chemical reactions.
Michael Harenberg, the university’s music director admitted that at first they were skeptical. Then "they discovered there is a field called sonochemistry that looks at the influences of sound waves, the effect of sound on solid bodies." In sonochemistry, ultrasound is used to alter chemical reactions and processes, so it is in the realm of possibility that other soundwaves may have their own effects.
To the skeptics out there, there has actually been increasing research showing the surprisingly positive impact music can have, not only on humans, but on plants as well. One theory is that it increases the amount of carbon dioxide in the plant's vicinity. Research has also shown that plants recognize threatening sounds, and prepare to defend themselves when they do.
Wampfler’s cheeses are going to hear a whole gamut of musical notes-- from rock anthems and ambient choirs to Mozart’s classic “Magic Flute.” The cheese will be tested in the new year.
“Will the cheese taste better? It’s hard to say,” Wampfler said. “I hope that the hip-hop cheese will be the best.”
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