Blind.Talk.Food

This was something to look forward to since the time I’d heard about it. The Blind tasting at Olive on a Sunday eve, organised by Food Talk India who decided to have a second round after the first one made quite a wave. Inspired by the restaurant chain ‘Dans le noir’ that initially started in London & Paris, offering an experience of senses by guiding you to a meal in the pitch dark. While there you’re escorted by the visually impaired who guide you through out until you come out of the door a little bewildered. Here it was fun, right from the word go.

I reached the venue sharp at 7 30pm in the fear of missing out any of the course. I think only couple of more people had the same fear since there weren’t many people yet. Drinks at Dirty Martini that got us mingling, and some pizzas later, it felt like the party was about to start. Everyone was thrilled to see what this is gonna turn out like. For me it was a combined version of their earlier events : Blind-tasting with strangers. So we proceeded to the Greenhouse on the Ridge, for the adventure to begin.

Soon after we were seated at our allocated tables, a little briefing on the etiquettes followed. We were supposed to put our blindfolds on as the bell rang. Anticipation showed up on everyone’s face trying those on and just working on their dexterity. People with glasses, lenses, or long nose, everyone had a bit of struggle story to tell. This was going to be exciting. But before we could start with it, we had the amuse served to us. Crisp pumpkin crackers with feta cheese, semi dried tomato, black olives, and sorrel on top. The only thing that we could see before we could devour it. This was supposed to set the tone of the upcoming courses. Intriguing!

Holding a cutlery in each hand (with a blindfold on), I was ready to indulge my senses. Something crisp and sweet, something cheesy and something saucy, but altogether it was just pure heavenly. The crunch of the candied walnuts were like the sweet lord from heavens. I was hooked and yearning for more.. when someone shouted, ‘the plate is clean ma’am. you can stop’. The bell rang, we took off our blind folds, and the chef came around to show us what we had. As delightful visually as it tasted.

The bell rang again and I started reaching for my cutlery to wipe it, just out of habit before putting it in my plate. I realised there was just a spoon and no fork. So I was sure it wasn’t going to be another salad. The smells of the soup was over powering. I decided to stop guessing and dig right in to take a mouthful. So creamy and yummy.. people at the table started chiming in with their reaction. I was quietly mouthing more. ‘Oh there’s something crispy in it too’ I thought. ‘I think there’s mushroom.. yeah yeah.. this is definitely mushroom. I love it’, said my neighbour. I agreed with her. ‘I love mushroom too’. ‘ I continued finishing my mouss-y course until I couldn’t pick any in my spoon. After all it had mushroom- my favourite! We were in for a shock when the chef came over. There was no mushroom in it.

Time for main course. We were discussing our preferences and allergies on the table. Blindfolded, of course! I’d have really liked some fish and was hoping for the surprise. The first bite turned out sharp and salty. I nudged for more and realised it was gnocchi. Filling and satiated, I kept quiet and listened more to what others had to say. The neighbours were going ballistic! ‘Popcorn.. I had a popcorn’, said one. ‘in a main course?’ enquired the other. They couldn’t believe it. Another one cooed in- ‘I am having something spaghetti like, but its made of some thing else’. I was intrigued. My dish wasn’t so complex. Anyway, we waited for the chef to show us all that we had. It was eye-opening, and not just literally.

We were almost full but had that little space for dessert. I was disappointed when I tasted custard. I ploughed for more, but all I got was some cake with custard. Now am not a big fan of either, so I left it. But the others’ feedback were great. They all were loving it while going on guessing and describing the textures. I’d stopped and was waiting for the chef to show up. We were in for another surprise. The dessert looked delicious. It had Panna-cotta which I usually like. So we had a go at it for the second time. This time without the blindfolds. Gauri who had lip-smacked the whole bowl the first time, didn’t like it as much anymore. While I who couldn’t finish it earlier, wiped the bowl clean!

What did just happen? Isn’t taste everything when we decide to eat something we enjoy? Or there’s more to it?

Do we get tricked by the visuals?

Well well.. I guess you’d like to know the answers for yourself.

Thanks to this event, I figured how I roll.

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