Without taking proper manners into account, there’s something satisfying about enjoying creamy foods like peanut butter or Nutella from your finger. It adds an intimate experience that seems to make the food taste better.
Designer Andreas Fabian and chef Charles Michel have developed their first utensil that mimics this feeling. Called the Goûte, it is a teardrop-shaped wand made of glass or wood. As preliminary research is suggesting, the joy people get from using it actually enhances the food’s taste.
The theory behind the Goûte is based on a 2013 study performed by Vanessa Harrar and Charles Spence. What they found is that the utensils people use impact how they taste and think about food. Weight, color, size, and shape of the utensil all affect the taste, and can even change people’s perceptions on food’s price. According to the study, “Yogurt was perceived as denser and more expensive when tasted from a lighter plastic spoon as compared to the artificially weighted spoons.”
Early designs of the Goûte were made by adding a handle to 3D printed models of fingers. From there, Fabian took the form and made it more abstract, like a teardrop. Glass was chosen as the material because it “feels beautiful in your mouth,” says Fabian. The Goûte is also available in three different kinds of wood: pear, maple, and olive. These act more like honey dippers.
For testing, Fabian and Michel went to the Crossmodal Research Laboratory at Oxford. This lab focuses on multi-sensory perception and had participants taste yogurts using plastic spoons and a Goûte. Results showed that the yogurt was considered better and creamier with the Goûte.
According to Fast Company, Fabian plans to continue testing his creations in an experimental kitchen. He and Michel hope to publish their research in the academic journal Frontiers In Multisensory Human-Food Interaction. The work is all part of a larger question Fabian is attemping to answer — whether changing the process of eating can help people eat healthier. His next experiment is with a spherical bowl that needs to be held. The idea is that people will feel fuller if they can feel the weight of what they eat.
Each Goûte is handmade in the U.K. and can be purchased through its website. The glass Goûte costs about $30 while the wooden variants are about $20.
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