Oxford University food scientist, Charles Michel has been experimenting with Jacob’s Cream Crackers to uncover the exact quantity of ingredients and the perfect balance of different flavour sensations needed to create the best combination that uses all of your taste buds and senses. He says, “Cheese and crackers are such a timeless combination, I jumped at the chance to work on coming up with a science-based formula for it. I’ve tried to create the perfect balance of ingredients needed to effectively stimulate all the senses to enjoy the most delicious cheese and cracker mouthful.”
Musician and foodie Alex James’ award-winning, artisan cheeses were used as part of the experiment, including Goddess, Blue Monday, and Farleigh Wallop. The science reveals six multisensory elements should be present in each serving, and all five tastes must be included: salt, sweet, sour, bitter and umami. The right balance of flavour is key, so using the correct measurement of each ingredient and layering the ingredients in the right order too:
1. Cracker: the crunchier the better — contrasting with the toppings. Use a fresh Jacob’s Cream Cracker straight from the packet.
2. Sonic layer: sound is the forgotten flavour sense; the sound made by food can make it taste better. A cheese and cracker pairing should have both soft and crunchy components. A contrasting texture on top of the cracker enhances the pleasure even more.
3. Umami: in small quantities, strong-flavoured, umami packed foods (like anchovies, prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and Marmite (perfectly complement your cheese-and-cracker pairing.
4. Sweet: an element of sweet (such as honey or dried fruit) can balance the taste equation and maximise flavour enjoyment.
5. Cheese layer: cover the cracker’s surface by 72%, says the science, so leave a gap at the edges, and serve at room temperature, so the texture and flavour intensity is at its best.
6. Sight and smell: smell is probably the dominant component of flavour, and depends mostly on the quality and freshness of the ingredients. It is commonly known that “we eat with our eyes first”, so food must look good to be enticing, and is a determining aspect of the enjoyment of the overall experience – so make it colourful and artistic.
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