London - Here’s a clever tip for dinner party hosts looking to wow their guests with the dessert course.
Simply serve up your pudding with a pink napkin if you want it to taste extra sweet, a chef has said.
Studies have already established that the colour of food affects how we taste it. But now experts say napkin colour is important too.
Chef Linda Lundgren recommends a mustard yellow napkin with green food such as sprouts and salads, to enhance tartness.
And aqua blue will make Indian dishes seem less salty, she says. Red or pink napkins are best with desserts, as they make dishes taste sweeter.
The advice has been backed by Charles Spence, professor of experimental psychology at the University of Oxford, who has published a book on ‘gastrophysics’.
He said: ‘Be it the colour of plateware, tablecloths, napkins, cutlery, or perhaps even wall colour, background colours matter more than any of us realise.’
There are two theories as to how napkins can change the taste of food.
The first is that their colour alters how a meal appears, making it seem more fresh – and so more delicious looking.
It is also believed that colours trigger the primitive brain, making us associate colours with flavours – such as blue and white with salty tastes.
Miss Lundgren, from Sweden, who has developed a napkin colour guide to food with hygiene brand Tork, said: ‘How do you make a strawberry mousse sweeter and richer tasting? The answer isn’t more strawberries and sugar. Instead, try serving the dish with a coral pink napkin. The colour actually increases sweetness and decreases bitterness, making it perfect for desserts.’