Inventors in Canada have unveiled this innovative gadget, which emits aromas to make the user believe they are tasting flavours like wasabi, basil or almond as they eat.
It works by having a capsule of ‘liquid aroma’ underneath the fork’s handle, which is then soaked through a small circle of blotting paper and released gradually as the owner eats their meal.
The user has to apply the ‘taste’ each time using a dropper and put a piece of blotting paper in place.
Jonathan Coutu, president of the Canadian inventors’ firm MOLECULE-R Flavors, said: ‘The initial idea was to reinvent the traditional fork into an improved utensil that would trick people’s mind by liberating an intense flow of aromas. He claimed it could become ‘the perfect educational tool to learn how to better appreciate food.’
A pack of four forks, a full set of ‘tastes’ and 50 diffusing papers costs £36.
Taste buds on the tongue recognise five primary tastes: sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness, and umami.
For differences between, for example, sugar and honey or light soy sauce and dark, the nose must do the rest of the job of picking out the subtleties of each piece of food. We tried the forks and whilst we loved the idea unfortunately this product does leave a lot to be desired. The aromas as a start were very artificial, there are currently some excellent food grade aromas (also known as flavour drops) available on the market which do not smell as artificial as the aromas provided. Most importantly we are not sure who the design was targeting. This is not a fork to present at the dinner table, the design is more reminiscent of a canteen fork – thin, light, cheap and when we did test this on diners we found that 20% of the forks broke on first use, as diners tried to figure out what the blotting paper was for they were able to accidently pick off the metal clip which holds the blotting paper in place.
Have you heard of any alternative products? Let us know!
For more on multisensory taste perception click here.