Thursday, May 29, 2008

Magical Mystery Tour- The Miracle Fruit


Yesterday, the New York Times ran an article on the effects of a berry called miracle fruit (or miracle berry) and chronicled a group of Big Apple denizens as they experienced a trippy journey of the taste buds (the host dubbed the event a “flavor tripping party”).

I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this berry before! Although it isn’t something I would partake in on a regular basis (you know, due to that deep-seated fear that the alteration will “stick,” much like that obscenely hideous face I made as a kid to irk my parents).

The plant, known scientifically as synsepalum dulcificum, is an evergreen native to tropical West Africa and the berry is known as miracle fruit for its ability to trip up the taste buds, leaving people tasting sweet when they are really consuming something sour, for example. The berry contains a glycoprotein molecule and when eaten, causes the extreme taste reaction. Talk about a spoonful of sugar helping the medicine go down! I’d like a bite of this fruit when I have to take bitter medicine!

According to the Times, Guinness with a dollop of lemon sorbet tastes like a chocolate shake. Tabasco became hot doughnut glaze. It states that the “berry rewires the way the palate perceives sour flavors for an hour or so...”

I feel like I’ve flavor tripped before. Eating at a restaurant like WD-50, you get experiences like Chef Dufresne’s take on pepperoni pizza- he renders the precise flavor of a pepperoni pizza into dehydrated balls minus the sauce, the cheese, and the meat. Pop ‘em in your mouth, let them melt, and taste your pizza.

I’m contemplating ordering a small supply or miracle berries and hosting a party of my own. An experimenter at heart, I love anything that whimsically plays with the taste buds and the mind. I’d love to swish around the berry flesh in my mouth, let it coat my tongue, and then suck on the rind of a lemon. Would it taste like a sugary lemon square? What would happen if I washed my mouth out with soap? Would it taste like cotton candy?

2 comments:

miracle fruit said...

Lemon juice tastes almost exactly like lemonade - it's even a bit fizzy.

Soap would still not be pleasant.

dave99 said...

I got mine from Miracle Fruit World
, and lemons really taste sweet! I used some of their recipes as well; superb customer service! Highly recommended!