Giant floating bubbles filled with orange-scented smoke make their way to the noses of onlookers.
We hope you had a great New Year's Eve filled with friends, kitschy noisemakers and too many drinks. But the truth of the matter is this—you probably didn't catch fireworks as cool as the thousands of people who got to taste their light show in London. Food scientists Bompas & Parr (the partners behind the jelly project that blew our minds) teamed up with Vodafone and the mayor of London to create an edible experience for the area's annual New Year's Eve fireworks show on the Thames River.
Early sketches of the firework experience
Viewers stood clad with light-up armbands that flashed in beat to the show they were watching. The different colored fireworks corresponded to different scents and tastes that were projected into the audience through peach snow, edible banana confetti, strawberry smoke and floating bubbles filled with Seville orange scented smoke. Check out a video from the event:
Food scientist Sam Bompas says it best in a quote to BBC: "We're going to actually let people taste the fireworks. And they're fruity. You will see red in the sky, and you'll smell strawberry." Vodafone even helped manifest an augmented reality experience for those who couldn't find space on London's South Bank. The brand's debut fireworks app went live 24 hours before the big show making it easy for people to view the display from home.
Strawberry-scented smoke was one of a few aspects that helped give the display a 3D feel.
Picking the scents and tastes wasn't as easy as you might think. According to Bompas & Parr's website, the duo went on a global fruit tracking quest to find the perfect matches for the event. (Never fear—they were all halal and kosher approved.)
"Across the world, there are 240,000 to 500,000 plant species that bear fruits of which 70,000 to 80,000 are thought to be edible and tasty, so the editing process has been crucial ... The chosen fruits are cross-cultural, so everyone can relate to them, and recognizable so that they will be understandable in the smoke and fury of the fireworks show."
It should go without question that the event programs were most definitely scratch 'n' sniff.