The airplane cabin’s low pressure combined with the cool, dry air on board and mixed in with the background noise all make sure your taste buds go numb, and especially so to sweet and salty flavours.
Smart cookie that you are, however, you might just be thinking that you can sprinkle a little extra salt to your food to solve the issue. Problem is, it’s just not that easy, as this will overpower the taste of the other ingredients.
So what DO you do?
Even mile-high your taste buds will still recognise it and this is where the “who-the-hell-ever-drinks-this-stuff” a.k.a. tomato juice makes its guest star appearance. The lowly tomato is extremely high on umami, making tomato juice one of the tastiest drinks you can have on planes.
Even the beer-loving nation’s national airline Lufthansa claims they serve almost as much tomato juice on their flights as they do beer!
Now that you know your flying flavour-flaws, have them work for you:
Skip the Burgundy
Though very much appreciated in a fine restaurant on the ground, the tannins in wine don’t pair that gently at high altitudes, making the aromatic and flavourful wines that are either on the sweeter side or higher in acid a better choice.
Go for one of the lighter red wines, like Merlot, Pinot Noir, or Chianti. If a white wine is your above-the-clouds preference, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling are likely to be the right choices.
Insider tip on getting the best of your on-board wine: shake it a bit to let some oxygen in – it’s kind of like a less sophisticated decanting and supposed to help unlock the subtle aromas and flavours in the wine.
Never Say No to Ice Cream
It's one of the few things that taste equally good on plane as well as on the ground. So when the time comes for dessert, ice cream is your safe bet.
When the food disappoints on taste, we start to appreciate its other qualities, like texture and crunchiness. You hear what we’re saying: Bring on the pretzels!
Fly Newer Aircrafts
The Airbuses and the Boeings of this world are not sleeping through their meals and improvements to aircraft design are increasingly making them friendlier to fly with, at the same time improving the wellbeing of your taste buds. Check the plane of the flights that you’re thinking of booking.
Fly Business or First Class
It would be a no-brainer, if only we could afford it. They don’t just get more leg room for the money, but also tastier food.
Airlines competing for the platinum-card passengers are engaging top class celebrity chefs in developing their menus, leaving no stone unturned in their search for ingredients and textures that can crack the challenges of an airplane environment.
And now Flaviaristas, it’s time to drop your tray table, loosely unfasten your seatbelt and enjoy your meal!