How to pair food and scents

12th November 2015

This post is brought to you by our friends at TRULY Experiences, the UK’s leading provider of unique gifts for men and women, including extraordinary dining experiences and Christmas gifts. Let’s take a look with them at the relationship between dining and scents.


Have you ever wondered why chewing gum loses its flavour so quickly? You’d have thought the multi-nationals would have found a way around the problem by now.Well here’s the thing: it’s not the gum that’s lost the flavour, it’s you who’s unable to taste it anymore. Put the gum aside, eat something else and, voila, an hour later the gum will taste just like it did to begin with.

The reason for this? We don’t actually taste the flavours themselves, but actually the change in flavours. That’s why condiments are great when eating large quantities of food – just ask Man V Food’s Adam Richman. It’s likely we evolved this way so we would be ‘grazers’, eating small amounts from one patch before moving to another. This would ensure we didn’t overuse any one food source.

Despite the millions of pounds Wrigleys and company have ploughed into finding a workaround for this, it doesn’t seem like there’s much we can do about it. The part of our brain known as the olfactory system is responsible for sensing tastes but also scents. That means it’s possible to change or even enhance how we taste things by altering what we smell.

A quick way to test this: taste a spoon of vanilla ice cream, smell a cinnamon stick for thirty seconds and then return to taste the ice cream. Suddenly, you’ll enjoy a rush of the most pure vanilla flavour, because you’ve tricked yourself into thinking you’ve just changed flavours.

Here are some of our other ideas for matching food and scents:

1) Brew some strong jasmine tea alongside roasted pork, to boost the concentration of indole (the compound responsible for ‘porky-ness’)

2) Eat mango under the christmas tree – sounds like it shouldn’t work, but the shared compounds alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, limonene, myrcene and camphene mean that the scent of pine helps block out any unripe notes in mangos

3) Light a chocolate-scented candle next time you eat cauliflower cheese. There isn’t a defined molecular reason for it, but chocolate boosts the flavour perception of both cheeses (particularly blue cheese) and roasted cauliflowers

4) Drink an IPA – essentially an overhopped beer – with raw pineapple. Both share high concentrations of methylhexonate, meaning that you double up on the flavour of pineapple

5) Strawberries and tomatoes share so many compounds the two are virtually interchangeable; except for a much higher concentration of glutamates in the latter. Add a few drops of strawberry essential oil to a Bloody Mary for a little more roundness and you’ll wonder why it’s taken you so long to put these two flavours together.

If all this talk of multi-sensory dining has whetted your appetite, why not check out TRULY’s range of extraordinary dining experiences? As a Farmdrop customer, you’ll get a free bottle of the world’s most adorable bubbly with any purchase made with TRULY by 13th December.

Just enter the secret message “I love Farmdrop” in the Leave a Personal Message field at checkout. Don’t worry – it won’t be included in your gift message! We’ll send your bubbly the week beginning 14th December – just in time for Christmas.

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