Oxford food scientist reveals perfect cheese and crackers formula

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A food scientist has created six steps for the perfect cheese and cracker sensation.

Charles Michel, who works in experimental psychology at Oxford University, has teamed up with cheese-maker Alex James to create a guide for hungry Brits at Christmas.

Charles Michel (Jacob's)
Charles Michel (Jacob's)

The key, apparently, is making sure six "multi-sensory" elements are present in each bite.

Here they are.

1. Cracker

The crunchier the better. A super crunchy cracker works better than bread to enhance your enjoyment as it contrasts even more with the toppings.

(Jacob's)
(Jacob's)

2. Sonic layer

Sound is the forgotten flavour sense. Food sounds really can make it taste better, honestly it's been proven, so both soft and crunchy elements are a must.

3. Umami layer

Umami is essentially a savoury quality.

In small quantities, strong-flavoured, Umami-packed foods like anchovies, prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and Marmite, will perfectly complement your cheese and cracker pairing.

(Jacob's)
(Jacob's)

4. Sweet layer

Sweet elements like honey or dried fruit will balance the taste equation to maximise flavour enjoyment.

5. Cheese layer

This is important, obviously. A piece of cheese must perfectly cover the cracker's surface by 72% and should be served at between 16 and 20 degrees.

When served on a Jacob's Cream Cracker the slice should measure 5.5cm, by 1cm thickness.

(Jacob's)
(Jacob's)

6. Visual layer

Smell is probably the dominant component of flavour. As we see it before tasting it, food must look enticing. Good looks are a determining factor - so make it colourful and artistic.

Michel said: "Cheese and crackers are such a timeless combination, I jumped at the chance to work on coming up with a science-based formula for it.

(Jacob's)
(Jacob's)

"I've tried to create the perfect balance of ingredients needed to effectively stimulate all the senses to enjoy the most delicious cheese and cracker mouthful... all in time for Christmas."

James, formerly a bassist in the band Blur, is now chief taste curator at Jacob's and an award-winning cheesemaker.