Eating and Drinking Are Multisensory Experiences
We taste with our eyes, ears, noses, and even our sense of touch. We taste with our emotions, and our state of mind. This has been demonstrated time after time after time.
Research out of Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab has shown that people will rate food as more enjoyable if it's consumed in the relaxed atmosphere of a fine dining environment, as opposed to a noisy fast food restaurant.
A 2006 study, published by the American Association of Wine Economists, found that most people can't distinguish between paté and dog food.
A recent New Yorker piece describes a followup to Brochet's 2001 study, wherein he served wine experts a run-of-the-mill Bordeaux in two different bottles:
One bottle bore the label of a fancy grand cru, the other of an ordinary vin de table. Although they were being served the exact same wine, the experts gave the bottles nearly opposite descriptions. The grand cru was summarized as being “agreeable,” “woody,” “complex,” “balanced,” and “rounded,” while the most popular adjectives for the vin de table included “weak,” “short,” “light,” “flat,” and “faulty.”