Does ice cream taste better licked from a cone or eaten with a spoon? Don’t laugh, this is important scientific work here.
An expert in food technology at Massey University in New Zealand recently weighed in on this critical issue: “Flavor in ice cream is only released when the fat content – which carries the flavor – is warmed in the mouth to at least body temperature,” said Kay McMath.
“During licking, the tongue is coated with a thin layer of ice-cream which is more quickly warmed and the flavor is detected by the large surface area of the taste buds present on the tongue.”
In comparison, a spoon provides some insulation to keep the sample colder when the ice cream enters the mouth. Once inside, the tongue pushes the ice cream to the roof of the mouth to melt before swallowing. This results in a smaller surface area on the tongue involved in warming the ice cream and releasing flavor. [via]
Anyone want to weigh in on your feelings?