I knew I was in for some good eats when I was invited to a potluck dinner party at A Canadian Foodie‘s gorgeous house (a.k.a Valerie), and then I found out that over 30 foodies and bloggers were invited. And when I found out that part of the evening includes a chance to try the miracle berry, well let’s just say that there was nothing short of the plague that was going to keep me away.
I started off trying to take nice photos but then I eventually gave up and took half-hearted, slightly blurry ones instead. There were lots of other people with better photos though, so don’t worry I’m sure there will be more popping up on blogs soon! I’m linking to recipes and blogs as much as possible but there were so many people there that it’s inevitable that I will miss some.
Valerie and her husband Vanja are great hosts and they made me feel welcome as soon as I stepped into their home. I thought I was going to arrive a little bit late but people were just starting to arrive when I got there. Valerie was prepared – name tags for all of us as well as tags for all our dishes!
Look at the dish names; this wasn’t just any old potluck! When foodies bring food (even “simple dishes” like we were instructed), we go all out.
Two different cuts of smoked moose tongue and homemade saskatoon wine by the talented Kevin Kossowan. Tasted like a heavily smoked ham and was delish. I think I preferred the texture of the back section of the tongue more though (dish on the left).
Then so many people started to arrive all at once and I gave up trying to take photos of everyone’s dishes. Just look at that bounty! My mouth waters just thinking about all the yummy dishes. Yes, someone brought a rice cooker. And someone else brought a tagine! I’m glad Valerie let me borrow one of her dishes to plate my dessert, cause I think my plastic Ziploc container wouldn’t have looked nearly as impressive.
Once everyone was stuffed, I passed around my pandan agar agar dessert. Good thing I cut them into small pieces because I think most people forgot about dessert and the rest of the food to come. There were a few suspicious looks at my little jellies (maybe because of an unfamiliarity with pandan and the green colour), but I made sure to let people know about the coconut before they tried it. (By the way, there was a typo on my recipe but it’s been corrected on my blog post.)
The after dinner entertainment consisted of everyone joining in on a food experiment. Miracle berries are small, red fruit that will change the way your taste buds react to food. There’s an interesting little interview over on Democracy Now of the author of The Fruit Hunters (a book I recently picked up), and it includes a bit about the politics around the miracle berry.
Feeling a bit like we were all at a 60s party being offered LSD, quite a few of us popped tablets made of freeze dried miracle fruit. I stuck mine on my tongue and let the chalky and slightly sweet tablet slowly dissolve. A full tablet is supposed to last for about a half an hour to an hour, unless you drink liquids that will wash away the miraculin (the protein that the berry leaves on your taste buds).
Val set up a smorgasbord of flavours – salty, sweet, sour, spicy and bitter. The experimenters loaded our plates and began to nibble. And started to excitedly share our experiences.
For me, the biggest revelation of the night was the lemon. The best description I can give is that it was like taking a bite of citrus fruit that tasted like perfectly sweetened lemonade. It was so good that I had two slices! Sweet foods, to me, were often muted in flavour and a lot of them became bland tasting. Here are a few other things that I noticed:
- sour cream – tasted like whipped cream
- dark chocolate – the miracle berry brought out all the bitter notes of the chocolate and made them stronger tasting
- applewood smoked cheddar – tasted so much like mold that I spit it out
- gorganzola cheese – I never usually eat this by itself because I find blue cheese too strong, but the berry made the taste mild with just a hint of blue
- strawberries – tasted like super sweet garden grown wild strawberries
- fresh pineapple – the acidic bite was taken away, which I actually didn’t like but some people loved it
- V8 juice – sweet tomato juice
- Guinness – tasted like water that was very lightly flavoured with beer
- raw garlic – the berry amplified the harsh taste
- Sriracha hot sauce – I nearly burned my mouth off due to the strengthening effect from the berry
To top off the evening, Val brought out two giant pavolvas that she had whipped off earlier. Crunchy, creamy and sugary – it made for a great way to end the evening. And of course I just had to put in at least one photo of someone else taking photos (LeQuan from luvtoeat)!
It was lovely to meet so many of you – both people whose blogs that I’ve been reading for a while and people who are brand new to me. I only got to talk to some of you briefly and some of you for longer, but it was all great.
Thank you again to Valerie and Vanja who were so kind to bring us all together and also went out of their way to give us a small recipe book of all the dishes we had that night.
A lot of people are posting their recipes on their site, so if you’re curious I highly recommend checking out their blogs. The attending bloggers and food lovers (and their significant others and friends), in no specific order whatsoever, were:
- A Canadian Foodie – her post about the event
- Eating is the Hard Part
- Cookbook Cooks
- XOX Lea Lea
- Take it and Like it
- Kevin Kossowan
- Beyond Umami
- May Contain Nuts
- Cellar Door
- downtown Edmonton City Market
- Button Soup
- What’s For Dinner?
- How to Cook a Wolf
- and me, of course!
(If I missed you please let me know!)