David and I opened the little blister packet of pills and each removed one small, pink dot from the pack. Nodding to each other, we each placed one on our tongues and let them dissolve as instructed.
"Do you think it's working?" I asked.
"Only one way to find out." David replied.
So we turned to the drinks sitting in front of us, and our trip began.
Now, I know what you may be thinking. But before you go all D.A.R.E. on us, the tablets we were trying are very, very legal. Made from the extract of the Synsepalum dulcificum berry from West Africa, these tablets have a temporary, fascinating effect. We tried the actual berries at a friend's, and the effect was so interesting, we wanted to see if the tablets would work in a similar way.
One order from thinkgeek later, and we had a miracle berry tablets. The whole schtick is this: the berry changes your sense of taste so that sour things taste sweet by way of a glycoprotein molecule it contains. Unsweetened, tangy Greek yogurt tastes like cool whip, out of season strawberries taste like they were rolled in sugar, lemons taste like lemonade. Lime juice and tequila taste almost cloyingly sweet, and normally undrinkable cranberry juice tastes like it's had a cup of sugar added to it. Rumor has it that wine will taste like vinegar under the berry’s effects, but the Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, and rose that we tried all tasted extremely sweet and drinkable, like a Riesling or ice wine.
Though they don't work for everyone, one tablet will last about 1 hour. David and I decided to have our own little “flavor tripping” party, and created a menu the would highlight the effects of the berries.
For the drinks, we stuck with tequila and fresh squeezed lime, and cranberry juice (the kind in the organic section with no added sugar) and vodka. Pre berry, the drinks were intolerably sour. Post berry, the effect was amazing. Sweet and drinkable.
For the first course, we made a granita with lemon juice, without adding the sugar that is traditional to a granita. This dish is super easy to prepare and pretty hands off.
Step 1. Buy or squeeze lemon juice.
Step 2. Pour into shallow dish.
Step 3: Freeze for about an hour.
Step 4. Take a fork and break up the ice, then put back in the freezer.
Step 5. Continue to break up the ice until you have a product about the consistency of shaved ice. You're done!
For the main course, we decided on buffalo chicken lettuce wraps with homemade Gorgonzola cheese dressing.
Frank wasn't kidding around. This stuff is H to the O to the T
We also tried some Greek yogurt and strawberries, which tasted fantastic. We recommend trying this for dessert, as we noticed the fatty yogurt made the effects wear off a little faster.
After about two hours of the berry’s effects, David and I found that we were a little fatigued with all the sweetness, and ready for things to go back to normal. Our fantastic flavor adventure had come to an end, and I promptly started digging around in the fridge for a nice, high IBU IPA.