Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Eating Chocolate by Breathing - Le Whif

The best was saved for last.
A whiff of many tastes.
To Sjörn Plitzko who can't read Portuguese...
In the pursue of projects involving the relation of the senses of taste and smell, + Q Perfume Blog has cooked with a chef before Christmas, and had a pleasant afternoon discussing the theme. It was really nice indeed, but nothing is more interesting than a project that I have already mentioned before, here and at Trends & Blends: Le Whif.
Developed by a Harvard professor, David Edwards, who has been researching in the medical field on aerosols and inhalation, and in collaboration with students, designers, engineers and entrepreneurs from Le Laboratoire, a center for art and design in Paris.
Le Whif is a lipstick-like device, I mean, a plastic cylinder with aromatized powder that is sprayed into the mouth. Puffed like a cigarette, the device sprinkles chocolate on the tongue through the holes in the side where the mouth is placed.
Le Whif uses particles enginnering to form natural food substances like chocolate, in particles that are so tiny that are ale to be inhaled. The substance does not reach the lungs and it fills the mouth with full taste without a single calorie.
Behind this project lies an ethnologic research into food. Our eating habits have changed during the centuries. We have been eating less! Instead of a few large meals, more smaller portions are being consumed. according to Edwards "it seemed to us that eating was tending toward breathing, so, with a mix of culinary art and aerosol science, we've helped move eating habits to their logical conclusion. We call it whiffing."
Le Whif is available in 3 flavors - raspberry, mint or plain chocolate.
The team of this project was already teamed up with 2 Michelin stars Thierry Marx hoping to develop other culinary tastes.
Clearly we see what we knew in theory: most of what we think it is taste, it is actually smell. Smell and taste belong to our chemical sensing system (chemosensation). The complicated process of smelling and tasting begins when molecules released by the substances around us stimulate special nerve cells in the nose, mouth, or throat. These cells transmit messages to the brain, where specific smells or tastes are identified. Our body’s ability to sense chemicals is another chemosensory mechanism that contributes to our senses of smell and taste. In this system, thousands of free nerve endings—especially on the moist surfaces of the eyes, nose, mouth, and throat—identify sensations like the sting of ammonia, the coolness of menthol, and the “heat” of chili peppers.
So Le Whif can be a great solution for PMS, eating disorders, to diabetes, high cholesterol related diseases and so on...
It could also become very handy to the Hollywood stars wishing to starve to death and die glamorously thin in the shower... not a bad joke but criticism to the beauty standards of the modern American society.
But back to taste and smell...
The sense of touch and perception of temperature is also important to have a complete sense of taste. Chocolate lovers love the sensation of the melting the chocolate on the tongue.
But it is a great invention and for us, perfume lovers it does put the sense of smell into the spot light!
Photo credits: Le Whif - Le Laboratoire

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