activity

Can you taste the difference between two similar foods, even if you can’t see them?

safety
  • None
difficulty
  • Beginner
time
  • 10 minutes

Have you ever heard the saying “You eat with your eyes”? Do you think what our food looks like is part of its flavor? Find out by taking away your sense of sight as you taste two samples of cheese that have a lot in common—but not their color. Can you taste the difference if you can’t see what you’re eating?

Prepare Ingredients

2 slices per person
white cheddar cheese
2 slices per person
yellow cheddar cheese

Gather Equipment

1 per person
blindfold
1 per person
small plate
1
 

In this activity, you and your family or friends will take turns seeing whether you can taste the difference between 2 very similar foods that happen to be different colors: white cheddar cheese and yellow cheddar cheese.

 
2
 

Choose 1 person to give out the cheese samples (or ask an adult to do this so everyone else can participate in the experiment). Everyone else will be a taster. Each taster should put a small plate in front of them and then put on their blindfold.

 
3
 
2 slices per person
white cheddar cheese
2 slices per person
yellow cheddar cheese

Once blindfolds are on, place 2 slices of white cheddar cheese on 1 side of each small plate. Place 2 slices of yellow cheddar cheese on the other side of each small plate. (It’s fine to stack the slices.)

 
4
 

Tell tasters to pick up 1 piece of cheese at a time. They should take small bites, chew slowly, and breathe through their noses as they chew and swallow. Ask the tasters to think about which slice is the white cheddar cheese and which slice is the yellow cheddar. Ask tasters to eat only 1 slice of each cheese at this point.

Tasting Cheddar

 
5
 

Once everyone has finished tasting, ask tasters to hold up the piece of cheese that they think is the white cheddar cheese. Then, ask tasters to hold up the piece of cheese that they think is the yellow cheddar cheese.

 
6
 

Have tasters remove their blindfolds and see if they were correct.

 
7
 

Have everyone taste the 2 samples of cheese without the blindfolds—do they taste different now that you can see them?

 
8
 

(Optional) Swap roles: Have anyone who hasn’t yet been a taster put on a blindfold and put a plate in front of them. Repeat steps 3–7 with these new tasters.

 
9
 

Once everyone has had a chance to be a taster, spend a few minutes discussing whether tasters thought the cheeses had different flavors or textures. What did they find different about them? Check out Food for Thought below to learn the real difference between white and yellow cheddar—and where cheddar cheese got its start!