How do we experience food?
In Cape Town, you can go for a wine blind tasting daily if you know where to look. But have you ever tried blind tasting food? This came up in conversation as we chatted to our host – Chef Barend Greyling of VIVA Cafe. We debated the senses we use when experiencing food… taste, smell, sight, sound, touch. Do we engage all five senses? Or do we simply “taste” our food? How often do we judge a plate by its presentation, before we sink our teeth into it?
Blind tasting as a global trend
Looking beyond our doorsteps, we learned that food blind tasting is a growing global trend. From Arola Restaurant housed in Mumbai’s JW Marriott Hotel, to Sono Wood Fired Pizzeria in Chicago, guests fumbled over their plates, blind-folded for the experience. It can be an intriguing experience to meet new people for the first time, but, made awkward if you fumble around for forks and knifes in the dark. So we took the tears and pain out of our inaugural blind tasting experience – guests weren’t blind folded, they simply had no idea what they were about to taste!
Barend took us up on the challenge
Going back to Chef Barend, we explained our new concept. An evening where guests are served “surprise dishes”, with each creation taking on a new form, texture or scent to tantalize our taste buds. Let the games begin! Barend promised to work his culinary magic, and to use the freshest ingredients in Spanish-style tapas. On the night, our group of 28 avid adventurers trickled in and warmed up over craft beers and wines. Before long, everyone was seated next to two new friends based on random seat assignments. We were ready!
Our platters arrived, with a plate to share among two people. On each plate were four tasting size portions: a black sausage; creamy pudding; slices of cake; and two fried globes. Each guest received a “Tasting card,” where they had to note if a dish was sweet or savory and guess the three key ingredients used. No better way to break the ice than a healthy dose of food debate, before long Chatters were giggling over each others’ shoulders for answers! After the tasting, we were served another plate with the four dishes in their original forms:
- Salmon & French bean boudin sausage, coloured in Squid Ink
- Toasted Truffle & Mushroom risotto balls
- Cauliflower panna cotta topped with Bacon bits
- Chicken liver & Fig Chutney cheesecake
- Pan-fried Salmon & crispy French bean
- Truffle & Mushroom risotto balls
- Cauliflower and bacon strip salad
- Fried chicken liver on Melba toast, with Fig Chutney drizzles
Intrigued? Come join us at our next Food and Chatter experience!
See you soon!