How food labels convince us that plonk is fine wine

In yet more proof that most wine poseurs have no idea of what they are drinking, a study from the States found people said they preferred a glass they were told was Italian over that purportedly from India when it was from the same bottle all along.

In another test, the researchers from Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts found that their human guinea pigs opted for chocolates supposed to be from Switzerland over those from China when told where they came from before tasting, although the reality was they were both the same supermarket brand.
So being a food snob is all in the mind and this research seems to show that our preconceptions dictate a preference to our taste buds.

In a funny way, it's a bit like the wacky stuff that chef Heston Blumenthal does, like giving people headphones playing the sounds of the seaside while they eat fish and chips, or at least his version of them. By messing with the mind, the enjoyment of food can be enhanced.

Fancy labels declaring a bottle of wine to a be the essence a handpicked, rare grape varietal are far more likely to entice us into buying that vintage – and at the same time raise our expectations of how it will taste – over a supermarket wine box of non-specific Vin du Pays.

The really funny thing about this study is that it discovered we have different expectations from the countries of the world. Chinese luxury chocolate? I don't think so, Belgium's the place for that. Fine Indian wine? Nope, not even as 'New World' choice.

Looking for noodles or curry and it's neither Belgium nor France that would register as anyone's preferred country of origin.

But you know what? Enjoying food isn't about making a statement, it's about doing something you like so whether your favourite tipple comes from Ulan Bator or the Loire Valley, it doesn't really matter. As long as it brings you happiness... and doesn't kill you.
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