Design studio Michel/Fabian has created a spoon that claims to improve the flavour of food, by recreating the experience of licking your fingers.
The Goûte spoon is the result of years of research by Michel/Fabian co-founder Andreas Fabian into how the design of tableware can affect people's perception of food and flavour, resulting in a PHD called Spoons and Spoonness.
The spoon has a tip shaped like a human finger, but its elongated overall shape makes it look more like a large icicle. It is designed for eating thick, creamy foods, similar to a honey dipper.
Fabian claims it makes food taste better, because it is more similar to the experience of licking your finger, rather than putting a strange object into your mouth.
"Food is one of the richest multi-sensory experiences, and defines our health and wellbeing, but also our relationship to others," he said. "Some of our most delicious and memorable food experiences often come from eating without cutlery."
"Eating with our bare hands, sucking our fingers, or even licking a plate are natural behaviours," Fabian added.
In an experiment conducted with Oxford University's Crossmodal Research Laboratory, Goûte was found to make food taste significantly better than a normal spoon. According to the research, the perceived value of the food went up by 40 per cent.
Fabian is now continuing his research at Buckinghamshire New University, along with studio co-founders Charles Michel and Daniel Ospina, both experts in the relationship between food and design.
"Conventional cutlery is a technology we put in our mouths every day, and currently it is only designed with functional purposes," said Michel. "We want to offer eating utensils that enrich the sensual pleasures of eating."
The designers have experimented with different materials to produce Goûte, including glass and various types of wood. They offer four different options for sale on their website – each found to offer a different experience.
The name Goûte is based on both the French word for taste, goût, and the word for a drop of liquid, goutte.
Michel/Fabian isn't the first studio to explore how shape and material affects taste. Similar experiments have resulted in a set of knobbly, bulbous and serrated cutlery, and eating implements that purposefully slow down dining.
Photography by Joe Sarah.