Synsepalum dulcificum

Today’s New York Times has an article on “miracle fruit,” a West African berry that “temporarily rewires the taste buds, turning sour flavors sweet”:

The cause of the reaction is a protein called miraculin, which binds with the taste buds and acts as a sweetness inducer when it comes in contact with acids…

The berries, which cost upwards of $2 apiece (one berry is supposedly enough to “rewire” your taste buds for an hour), are used at foodie parties where guests sample the altered flavors of a wide variety of foodstuffs:

He ushered his guests to a table piled with citrus wedges, cheeses, Brussels sprouts, mustard, vinegars, pickles, dark beers, strawberries and cheap tequila, which Mr. Aliquo promised would now taste like top-shelf Patrón… Mr. Mozie listed his favorite miracle fruit pairings, which included green mangoes and raw aloe. “I like oysters with some lemon juice,” he said. “Usually you just swallow them, but I just chew like it was chewing gum.”

A large group of guests reached its own consensus: limes were candied, vinegar resembled apple juice, goat cheese tasted like cheesecake on the tongue and goat cheese on the throat. Bananas were just bananas.

Sounds intriguing, although if I were trying to stay under the FDA’s radar, I’d probably avoid the use of the phrase “flavor tripping party.”

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