Polls / January 30, 2012

Does food seem to taste better when you’re dining out while on holiday?

Food tastes better when dining out while on holiday according to more than half (56%) of respondents to the latest eZonomics online poll. Of the remainder, 25% hadn’t thought about this and 18% said that it did not improve the taste.

The psychology of restaurants
A simple Spanish dish can taste particularly good for visitors to the country when accompanied with a setting sun and the sounds of flamenco in the distance. The environment in which food is eaten can influence our enjoyment of it, according to the psychology of food, as can presentation, smell and sound. Tutor2u blogs that wine and food “rarely tastes as good at home as it does on holiday”. Writer Geoff Riley adds that some restaurants are experimenting with different atmospheric cues – and economists are studying the effect prices can have on diners’ enjoyment of their meals.

Making biases work in your favour
Can imagining you’re on holiday make a home-cooked meal more pleasurable? It’s possible. After all a range of studies that suggest we can trick ourselves into enjoying food and drink more. A well-known example is the perception that cheap wine tastes better if it has been transferred (without the sampler’s knowledge) into a more expensive bottle. Psychology Today lists studies that found similar “expectation effects” for coffee, beer and even ice-cream and cheese spreads. Cooking a recipe that recalls a favourite holiday, cranking up the heating and playing a suitable soundtrack might be a tasty treat.

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eZonomics team
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