This story has aged well in my archives, like a good, sharp cheddar (or perhaps flat?).
Last September, Swiss cheesemaker Beat Wampfler and a team of researchers from the Bern University of Arts placed nine 22-pound wheels of Emmental cheese in individual wooden crates in Wampfler’s cheese cellar. Then, for the next six months each cheese was exposed to an endless, 24-hour loop of one song using a mini-transducer, which directed the sound waves directly into the cheese wheels.
So, what kind of music does cheese enjoy?
The “classical” cheese mellowed to the sounds of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. The “rock” cheese listened to Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” An ambient cheese listened to Yello’s “Monolith,” the hip-hop cheese was exposed to A Tribe Called Quest’s “Jazz (We’ve Got)” and the techno fromage raved to Vril’s “UV.” A control cheese aged in silence, while three other wheels were exposed to simple high, medium and low frequency tones.
Well, that’s not a huge range of choices, plus six months of the same song, over and over? It’s enough to curdle the blood in my musical ear, that’s for sure.
Ah, you say – cheese doesn’t have ears! True. This issue was resolved by applying music directly to cheese:
The wheels were stored in wooden crates and played 24 consecutive hours of either classical, hip-hop, techno, ambient, or rock and roll. Rather than speakers, the researchers attached small transmitters to the wheels to relay the sound waves directly into the cheese.
I have my doubts, of course, but until I have my own dairy farm and cheese making equipment to attempt a reproduction of this experimental method, it sounds pretty good to me.
In anticipation of the annual celebration of, among other things, cheese, here’s an indirectly thematic song: