I recently had the chance to visit the newly-opened British Museum of Food right next to culinary centre of London, Borough Market.
BBC Radio recently ran a programme on Food Museums; a new kind of museum feeding on our seemingly insatiable interest in food.
Featured in the piece was the British Museum of Food curated by “flavour-based experience design’ experts Bompas & Parr. The blend of interactive exhibits and art go far beyond your average display cases. Bombas & Parr’s previous work includes giant jelly installations, cooking on real lava, and the Guinness Storehouse Taste Experience in Dublin.
Upon entering the museum, the first exhibit “Be the Bolus’ invites guests to watch a video of the path food takes through the body, whilst being manipulated on a massage chair (somewhat roughly!) to simulate how food is digested.
Next up, to my sweet tooth’s delight, is a sensory experiment testing whether different sounds affect the taste of chocolate, with all results recorded by guests and collected by the University of Oxford.
The staircase shows a collection of food-inspired art and even art-inspired food- one painting was made entirely out of edible materials. The British Menu Archive displays menus from the past 200 years and is perhaps the most traditional part of the museum experience.
My favourite exhibit is the “Butterfly Effect’ a real hot house butterfly jungle, highlighting the important role Butterflies play in pollinating a vast majority of the world’s crops. There can’t be many other places in the centre of London to experience this feat.
I sadly didn’t have time for Alcoholic Architecture next door- Bompas & Parr’s breathable cocktail bar- where guests are given ponchos and slowly get drunk on gin and tonic vapour. Perhaps next time!
The Museum is seeking a permanent home, but is currently open until early 2016.
Images: Kind courtesy British Museum of Food, Bombas & Parr.