My exciting journeys of the palate have led me into the opaque depths of the culinary underworld. I have discovered that dining in darkness is a unique and fun way of exploring the sense of taste.
To enjoy a meal in the complete dark requires an open mind. Your sense of sight is blanketed in pitch blackness with a blindfold. Your sense of smell is heightened and your taste buds are challenged with a roller coaster ride of different textures and consistencies. You are unable to see the meal placed before you. Can you stomach that? I surely can!
The trend began in 1998 in Switzerland and was originally staffed by the visually impaired. The idea was simply designed for the foodie to experience what its like to dine without vision. By 2004, the concept spread throughout parts of Europe like France, Germany, Moscow, London and now the USA.
I recently had the opportunity to experience the enjoyment of a meal in the murk. It was enigmatic and magical. Our menu was pre-planned upon reservation noting meal preferences, such as food allergies or vegetarianism. (I have an allergy toward nuts.) Flashlights or anything luminous, like cell phones are strictly prohibited.
When you arrive, the waitstaff, fully equipped with night vision goggles, will gladly lead you to your table. Should you feel the urge to use the restroom, just raise your hand, and they will guide you to a well lit facility. Please let me add that there were a few nervous patrons whom were suddenly put off by this dining experience, and politely asked to leave. I can truly respect their opinion, because this unpredictable banquet can only be appreciated by a curious devoted connoisseur of food.
Though I could not see the mysterious sensory feast placed before me, I realized how extra special this meal was. Music filled the room with high bass drums that beat in unison with my heart. (There was live music and dance involved too.) I was temporarily blinded, yet I could see that there were dancers frolicking about, diners laughing merrily, without any worries. All I could do was feel. It was fresh, new, unexpected and ethereal. The childlike being within me was set free, as I laughed wholeheartedly, and incessantly. We fiddled clumsily with our utencils and I stained my shirt with different sauces; I let my guard down and all defenses. The cuisine was extra tasty too! (It was a New York Strip steak, rare with a side of mixed veggies.)
Everyone emerged from the darkness with a bright smile, satisfied and in good cheer. It turned out to be a wonderful evening, full of happiness and positive energy. It was an exotic way to eat, I have no regrets.
Okay, I made it sound slightly cheesy, but seriously, if you really love food and are adventurous, please try it. Many great things happen in the dark, so why not eating?
(Perfect for Valentine’s Day!)
To find out more about dining in darkness: