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Edible Cinema Matches Munchies to Movie

Hot & Cool Food Trends

For many folks, part of the fun of going to the local cineplex is the hot buttered popcorn you munch during the movie (although my bucket’s usually empty before the ads and coming attractions are over). Perhaps you like to indulge your sweet tooth during the film with a giant box of Raisinets or Milk Duds.

But you probably never really connected the eats with what was taking place up on the screen.

Introducing and perhaps coming soon to a theater near you: Edible Cinema.

Edible Cinema had its premiere recently at the Electric Cinema in London's Notting Hill during a screening of Guillermo del Toro’s Pan's Labyrinth. Members of the sold-out audience were given a tray of numbered cups and packages as they arrived at their seats.

At key points throughout the film, usherettes held up corresponding numbers indicating when to open the packages and dig into the snacks, which were chosen to enhance various scenes in the movie.

Andrew Stellitano is the food designer behind the menu for Edible Cinema. He found it really interesting, he says, to break down the film into key moments to enhance with food and aroma. “I was interested in finding places where I could subtly direct the audience to mimic actions of the characters. Flavor is definitely evocative. It's exciting to think that by pairing film and food we can potentially bring the film closer," Stellitano said.

Eight different flavors were selected to accompany Pan’s Labyrinth. For a scene in a forest, the audience was treated to pine-scented popcorn. When a character is prescribed a sedative, the audience gets prompted to taste a medicinal-tasting gin cocktail. And so on.

It kind of reminds me of “Smell-o-Vision.” Remember that? Back in 1982, film director John Waters arranged to have scratch-and-sniff cards passed out to theater goers so they could enhance their movie experience by smelling various aromas keyed to the action in his cult film, Polyester Waters called the concept “Odorama.”

Smell-O-Vision actually dates back to 1960, when theater seats were injected with 30 different scents for the film Scent of Mystery, produced by Mike Todd, Jr. The scents were triggered by the motion picture soundtrack.

So the concept of eating foods or sniffing aromas that correspond to the film goes back more than 50 years.

I don’t know about you, but I’m already kind of done with the whole 3D craze that’s going on with the new releases today. I’d like to taste this “new” concept instead. Here’s hoping Edible Cinema works its way to American movie houses soon.

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