Tasting the Miracle Berry

To celebrate becoming the number one food blog in Montreal, Braised and Confused founders Jen Ho and Alex Chinien hosted a ‘flavour-tripping’ event at their downtown penthouse apartment. First popularized in the 1970s, these parties consist of guests chowing down on lemons, pickles and wasabi and washing it back with balsamic vinegar or Tabasco sauce — all under the influence of synsepalum dulcificum, more commonly known as the ‘miracle berry.’

Unlike many of nature’s other inhibitors, miracle berries are, first and foremost, legal. Secondly, they aren’t psychotropic — meaning, the berries don’t affect perception or consciousness, but rather distort the tongue’s physical taste buds. Once ingested, the fruit causes bitter foods to taste sweet, and tart liquids syrupy. Select salons, bars and restaurants have begun to construct their menus around its transformation — though if you want to be wined and dined, you’ll have to head to New York. Here in Montreal, one alternative is trying it out for yourself. Our recommendation is to host your own flavour-tripping party, invite foodies and daredevils alike, and see where the berry takes you.

Our friends at Braised and Confused put together an extensive buffet, including the usual suspects — limes and grapefruits, pickles and goat cheese — but upping the ante with sour gummies and Guinness (our personal favourite, for more reasons than one). Even less-than-desirable drinks such as Pabst Blue Ribbon or cheap tequila began to taste heaven-sent. The acidic fruits started to take on the sweetness of candied oranges, the cheese resembled cake, the beer a chocolate smoothie. Invitees included other top bloggers from the likes of The Sassy Foodophile and Urban Spoon; to a one, they were (pleasantly) baffled by the gastronomical goings-on in their mouth.

Unfortunately, finding these miracle berries is harder than one might think. Local grocers were stumped by our request, and often hadn’t even heard of the fruit. After some snooping around, we came across a Ville-Marie dealer who sells packs of the fruit, dried and ground, ten pills for $18 (Mr. Berry, 438.886.8666 fruitmiracle@hotmail.com).

Sounds a little iffy, sure, but the short trek to Ville-Marie is well worth the trip. With winter fast approaching, nights in will replace evenings out on a patio. Here is your chance to one-up friends’ steak-and-potato potlucks — just be sure not to reveal your sources!

Image courtesy of Jason Eppink.


2 thoughts on “Tasting the Miracle Berry”

  1. So you mentioned the berries come dried, ground and in pill form. Do you just pop a pill before eating and wait a bit or ground them into the food itself?

    • The pill needs to dissolve on your tongue–it’s the coating of the berry on your mouth itself rather than any ingested effects! The taste of the pill is a little bitter, but not unbearable.

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