Saturday, 3 May 2014

Dine in the Dark

On Wednesday, myself and my better half went along to Cava's 'Dine in the Dark' event. Cava is a Spanish Cuisine and Tapas restaurant in Galway run by JP McMahon. Now, ye all know I love my food, but the real foodie in our house has to be my other half. While I am interested in food, my curiosity stops as soon as I have eaten whereas my other half is always cooking, experimenting, making new stuff and trying different recipes and dishes out.

Dine in the Dark was such a different experience for both of us. We were shown to our table and given wine while the restaurant filled up. At 8pm the evening kicked off when we were given a brief introduction to the evening. We were told that most of the information we process about food comes to us visually. Interestingly, touch and taste were the two least senses we use when it comes to food which is crazy when you think about it.

Waiting at out table for us...

We were instructed to put on our blindfolds and the evening started! We were given 5 courses (of which I have no pictures as I was blindfolded) each served with an accompanying wine. It was a mix of scary WTF moments and hilarity as the evening progressed. The first course felt like I was eating a slug. The second plate tasted mousse-y. The third plate was crispy and wet. The fourth plate was hot and cold, sweet and sour. The final plate was dessert - I'd know a dessert plate a mile off and I knew exactly what I was eating. 

JP in the dark!

The whole experience lasted two hours and was brilliant. Everything from fumbling around for my knife and fork on the table to wondering how you were going to pour water, from feeling around the plate to make sure you had nothing left behind to guessing what colour the wine you were drinking - it was an experience everyone should have at least once.

Dine in the Dark menu

The best thing about any experience is the different things people take from them. On dissecting the night, myself and my other half had two completely different experiences. He enjoyed trying to piece together the individual components of each dish, trying to work out what they were made of like he was solving some Jessica Fletcher case. I on the other hand discovered a number of things about me.

Without the visual, I couldn't gauge how much I was eating/had eaten. If you had asked me to put what I thought I had eaten back on each plate, I'd be totally taking a stab in the dark. After the event, the chef passed around each plate so we could see what we had eaten on each course. I couldn't believe how 'little' I had eaten over the 5 courses compared to what it had felt like I'd eaten.

Snack #1 and #2 (Taken from JP's Instagram)

Course #3 - Pig and Prawns (Taken from JP's Instagram)

The next thing I couldn't believe is how much I don't savour or appreciate the taste of what I am eating. As this kind of felt like a test, I wanted to make intelligent guesses as to what I was eating. I was quite surprised for example to realise I had eaten crispy fish skin when I thought it was pork crackling. What I had thought was a light mousse turned out to be a fig! Hello - how could I get it so wrong?

I think because I don't cook, I don't have the same appreciation for tastes and flavours as others do when it comes to savoury. I also have discovered (this is hardly newsflash worthy) that I am so much more of a sweet guy than a savoury guy. Give me a nice dessert any day over a starter! All in all, we had a super night with lots of wine, food and taste experiences!


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