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Flavor Tripping: What Foodies Do to Up the Ante

Flavor Tripping: What Foodies Do to Up the Ante
culture
Jeff Squires
  • 9 february 2009

Over the past few months, we’ve been hearing rumors about some crazy berry that changes the way things taste, rewiring the way the palate perceives sour flavors and making lemon wedges seem like gourmet appetizers and cheap tequila taste like Patrón.  We were intrigued to say the least.

Team PSFK finally had the good fortune of trying the miracle berry at a launch party for 303Grand, Street Attack‘s new rotating storefront and office space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  Attendees were asked to bring a couple of food items listed on a google document for a full flavor tripping experience. Upon arrival, everything from gin to goat cheese was laid out on a table ready for tasting.  After a quick spiel about how to ingest the berry, people purchased them for $5 a pop and were instructed to start with the citruses.

The berry is native to West Africa and and was poised to become a sugar substitute in the 70s, but after being squashed by the FDA, it went underground.  Lately, a number of bartenders and and experimental chefs in London and New York have been re-exploring its culinary potential.

We found that the berry undoubtly changed the way things tasted, but that the experience revolved more around the mystique of the fruit than its actual effect. Calling it ‘flavor tripping’ likens the experience to something a little more illicit than it really is (the experience falls, by our judgment, on about the same level as drinking a glass of orange juice after brushing your teeth).  While there may be legitimate potential for incorporating it into recipes, as far as ‘flavor tripping’ parties go, the magic of the berry lies perhaps less in the actual fruit than in the anticipation, the collective effervescence, and the ritualistic experience of the communal ‘trip’.   The snacks and booze certainly help, too.

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