A symphony of chocolate feeds the soul. In July, my daughter Sarah and I responded to an invitation to taste the music. We indulged in Chocolate Voices, a wonderfully delicious event hosted by Westben Arts Festival Theatre. It’s a creative blend of passions – chocolate and music – carefully paired together to create a unique sensory experience with each sampling.
Hosted by Chocolatier Angela Roest of Centre and Main Chocolate Co. and Christopher Cameron, Opera Singer/Author, the event was a wonderfully engaging example of cross-modal perception. With each unique offer, for example, rich chocolate wrapped in cellophane paper and paired with the Pointer Sisters Pains and Tears, we were invited to notice or interpret the perception of taste produced with the interaction of sound, sight and taste.
We were also introduced to the work of Dr. Charles Spence, an experimental psychologist at the University of Oxford. Dr. Spence leads the Crossmodal Research group, specializing in the integration of information across different sensory modalities. He is particularly interested in how our brains manage to process information from each of our different senses (such as smell, taste, sight, hearing and touch) to form extraordinarily rich multisensory experiences. He is the author of Gastrophysics: The New Science of Eating. The book suggests that eating is a far more multisensory experience than we realize and highlights how sound affects our appreciation of food.
As he writes: “Many of the food properties that we find highly desirable – think crispy, crackly, crunchy, carbonated, creamy, and squeaky – depend, at least in part, on what we hear.” How food looks and is presented also changes the way it tastes. For example, chocolate served in a rounder shape makes it taste sweeter.
There are over 200 flavour compounds in chocolate. Pairing this myriad of possibilities with music to match, you are left with an elixir of love – hints of heat, bitter moments, crunchy sparkle — ultimately a seamless marriage of voice and chocolate with the two bigger and louder as a whole. Chocolate Voices was truly a sweet experience that left me wanting more. Bravo Westben co-founder Donna Bennett and team for putting together an event that puts the spotlight on the natural intelligence of our senses. Encore!
If you have yet to experience the magic of Westben, I highly recommend you plan a visit in 2020. Concerts at The Barn are part of Westben’s year round Centre for Connection & Creativity, a convergence of people, ideas, and activities through music.
About the Author: Jennifer Garland is the Owner/Program Director of The Mane Intent, offering Health and Wellness Workshops and Individual and Team Effectiveness Coaching. Jennifer’s intent is to bring horses, donkeys and humans together to explore new possibilities and find new meaning in lived experience. Learn more about Jennifer’s corporate experience, lectures, awards and publications, here
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