Can Cutlery Influence Taste?
Having elegant cutlery can create a sense of occasion and transform even an ordinary meal into something special. Whilst cutlery is usually selected for either aesthetic or economic reasons, its influence on taste should also be considered.
Previous research has indicated that our perception of food can be influenced by the colour of the plates we eat off but the choice of cutlery can also have a strong impact on the taste of food. Apart from the visual impact of cutlery, the research has also discovered that the weight, shape and colour of cutlery can influence taste.
The research, which was conducted at Oxford University, found that plain white yoghurt which was eaten from a white spoon was perceived to be more expensive and sweeter than the same yoghurt when eaten on a black spoon. Equally yoghurt eaten from a large plastic spoon was perceived to be sweeter than the same yoghurt when it was eaten from a small plastic spoon. Cheese which was eaten from a knife was also considered to be saltier than when it was eaten with a fork.
So how can cutlery influence the taste of our food? The theory behind the research is that people have expectations of how food will taste based on previous experiences. In simple terms, this means that if they associate the colour blue with a salty taste, any food served in a blue bowl will be saltier than that which is served in a red bowl. Equally the weight of a heavy spoon can suggest that the food eaten with it is thicker and denser than identical food which is eaten with a lighter spoon.
Dressing the Table
Of course, it is also important to consider the aesthetic value of cutlery. Having an elegant or intricate design such as that from the Ritz range can complement an elegant setting, whilst cutlery from the Glacier or Orentix ranges is more appropriate to a contemporary setting.
For large functions, Harley offers an attractive range of simply but stylish cutlery combining modern lines with traditional splendour which is adaptable to any setting
Practical Considerations when Selecting Cutlery
Whilst cutlery should be visually attractive, it should also be practical. Good quality knives should have forged blades and finely ground edges, with bolsters to promote durability. Apart from having the right blade length and being adequate for the cutting task in hand it is equally important that the knife feels comfortable to hold.
For those who love flamboyance, Confidence, produce a range of stylish table knives which are practical as well as stylish and come complete with matching dessert knives. Harley Regal offer a range of knives which are both comfortable to hold and aesthetically pleasing.
Improving Service and Customer Satisfaction
Although, for the moment at least, the choice of cutlery is very much a matter of personal taste it is more than likely that neuro-scientific research will influence it in the near future. The implications for the catering industry are that, at the very minimum, cutlery should meet customer expectations in terms of both size and weight. When it doesn’t e. g. if a dessert is presented with an incorrectly sized utensil, it can have a negative impact on taste.
On a positive note, investing in a new set of cutlery could improve both the perceived quality of food and the pleasure derived from it. That’s not a bad return for a set of utensils!