Tasting Notes

A Conversation Inspired by Music and Good Taste.

Harmony, Dissonance, and Counterpoint: Tasting Notes #1

The worlds of music and gustation have long served humanity. Terms like: Soothing. Satiating. Scintillating. Fiery. Dense.

Queries often heard at wine shops involve pairing. And it occurs to me music is full of pairing…programming a concert, a soloist’s take on a given work, and of course, the very choice of the notes the composer sets down on paper.

Harmony. Dissonance.


The term originates from the Latin punctus contra punctum meaning “point against point”, i.e. “note against note”.

So the goal of the tasting kit is to create your own culinary counterpoint…does a piece of the Manchego on the Petit Toast create a harmonious sensation on your palate? Then add the fig spread. Nice? Maybe the cornichons and the cheese are good together, but when you try to add the fig spread it no longer works…it creates a dissonance, if you will.

This is a way of sharing where my mind goes when I’m trying to find what items might be a nice match. Just like the Perfect 5th is a stable, pleasing musical consonance, there are certain “rules” to pairing: sweet with salty, tannin cutting fats, etc. Enjoy getting to learn these parameters, and creating your own!

Tasting kits are available in our store, and starting February 12, the Bangor Symphony Orchestra’s 125th season begins streaming online at watch.bangorsymphony.org.

Tasting Kits Available watch.bangorsymphony.org