Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Flavor Tripping: not quite as trippy as expected

A few months ago, I, along with many other readers, read the NY Times article about the miracle fruit that causes flavor tripping and have been pretty captivated by the idea for the last few months. After eating a piece of miracle fruit, one's taste buds are rewired for an hour or so rendering sour flavors sweet. Yesterday, San Francisco had its very own flavor tripping event, and I bought my ticket as soon as I heard.

So, after several months of dreaming of the miracle fruit and its miraculous affects, my expectations were reasonably high and were only heightened when I got there and the line reached the end of the block. After reaching the frontSo, after several months of dreaming of the (which didn't take very long as my very nice friend Peter had gotten there earlier and had done the waiting for the both of us), I was given a little, purple poach containing the fruit and instructions to swirl the fruit in my mouth for at least one minute but preferably two. While I was moving the fruit pulp around my mouth, a felt a slight tingling sensation across my tongue which resulted in something that felt like a partial numbing. Believing that I had begun tripping, I went straight for the bitter citrus, lemons and limes, and, well, they tasted like candy. The sensation of seeing something you have always known to be tart and bitter, even when sweetened, and tasting it as being totally sweet with very little hint of the usual bitterness, was totally bizarre! After this, however, the craziness of the effect was much less extreme. Grapefruits and pineapples simply tasted extra sweet and delicious while many other things, such as salad dressing and unsweetened cranberry juice, were hard to even gauge how much their taste had changed, without knowing exactly how they had tasted before.

There were, however, a few things whose tastes were altered in surprising ways, namely oysters and balsamic vinegar. Oysters had a newly creamy texture, seeming to melt across your tongue, but still maintained their salty flavors; at the event, I likened them to creme fraiche with a whole lot of tasty caviar on top. Balsamic vinegar was also interesting because when it was in your mouth, the subtle, sweet undertones dominated while the bitterness of the vinegar vanished until it went down your throat and the vinegar taste came back to bight you. All told, the flavor tripping experience was pretty interesting, but the expectations set by the NYTimes article that I would suddenly be pouring Tabasco on my tongue as if it were maple syrup did not exactly hold up.

No comments: