Dinner gatherings encompass more than home-cooked meals by budding chefs. Successful dinner parties are seared into the memory by coupling great food and a stimulating atmosphere. The right ambiance – created via centerpieces, background music, and appropriate lighting – enhances the food’s flavor and elevates the overall dining experience. According to a recent scientific study published in Flavour, the setting of a meal is crucial to influencing individual taste. The study concluded “that it really is possible to enhance the multi-sensory experience… by changing the atmosphere” of a meal. To offer the ideal dining experience for friends and family, dinner hosts must consider more than a meal’s taste.
We know dishes taste better when coupled with a complementary ambiance. But how do hosts create the optimal atmosphere for their dinners, and what aspects should they consider to ensure the best dining experience? While a perfectly prepared multi-course dinner will amaze most dinner guests, carefully considered lighting, music, and decor will enhance a guest’s opinion of the food.
The mere presentation of a meal can create a positive reaction for dinner guests. From plating to adding colorful garnish, professional chefs use the physical appearance of the food to elicit an enjoyable dining experience. Hosts of intimate dinner parties are more likely to utilize lighting to enhance the visual presence of a dish. Lighting is an essential component to emphasizing a meal’s visual appeal and add to the ambiance. While bright lights illuminate the scrumptiousness of a course, sporadically placed candles offer a more intimate setting and can affect the food’s taste considerably.
Music choice also dramatically affects the taste of a meal. Multiple studies have determined that sound frequencies activate particular taste buds while eating. Participants noted that high frequencies enhanced sweetness, while low ones evoked bitterness. A similar study added that a savory taste could be experienced when coupled with music emitting low pitches. These findings provide would-be dinner hosts with the ability to amplify the desired taste by serving their meal to certain soothing sounds. This allows hosts to confidently pick music that more accurately completes their meal.
Much like the food itself, the setting of a dinner can directly affect a person’s perception of taste. The atmosphere created by decor and key centerpieces can alter a guest’s overall experience with the food. While the main component of flavor originates with the mouth, titillating the other senses with aesthetically pleasing pieces can influence the dining experience. Centerpieces can evoke emotion while decorations determine themes; both allow guests to create unique encounters with their dinner. For a successful dinner gathering, hosts should choose decor that complements the meal.
How a meal tastes is influenced by a culmination of the ingredients used and the ambiance created. Using sensory science to enhance a dinner combines the meal with lighting, sound, and decor to create an improved experience for guests. There’s no excuse to ignore the science when hosting for friends and family. This is the age of smart home devices and technology; creating the desired ambiance for any occasion with smart centerpieces and high tech devices has never been easier.