Deeply Sensual Dining in the Dark: Blindfold Preferred

Does blocking vision wake up our taste buds? Logic says ‘yes’.

Is eating blindfolded a trend in the slow food movement or better yet, the slow sex movement? Savouring the pleasures of food and being ‘in the moment’ is key to slow living.

Awakening our senses, creativity and sensuality are core concepts associated with being blindfolded.

Truthfully, I woke up thinking about the positive pleasures of blindfolds this morning. Within the hour, The Atlantic Food Channel’s post In Tokyo, Dining in the Dark has me searching for more news of this trend.

David Nakamura describes dinner with the modern, technologically savvy, 32-year-old entrepreneurial Buddhist monk Kakuho Aoe, who is dedicated to reversing the steep decline of Buddhism in Tokyo.

Blindfolded and engaged in a group greeting game, Nakamura is unaware that a bowl of tomato soup is placed before him by Michiko, Aoe’s wife.

Surprisingly, I have not been able to sense that anyone has set anything in front of me. Instead of my other senses being sharpened to an animal-state of hyper-awareness by the loss of my eyesight, as I expected, I realize that humans have, in some ways, devolved as we have evolved.

I grope carefully for a dish. It is a cold teacup, and I drink the liquid, which is clearly tomato soup. The taste is strong and tangy, though I am later told that Kaku has removed two-thirds of the seasonings from his dishes because he says our taste buds are more sensitive when we cannot see what we are eating. I’m not sure I believe it, based on my inability to sense his wife’s movements around me.

In the Dark Food Seduction

My first query about eating blindfolded takes me to the Grill Room restaurant in Edinburgh, Scotland’s Sheraton Hotel, where the experience is called ‘sensory dining’. Personally, I find the concept of eating blindfolded ‘sensory dining with a twist’.

Dining with me is always a sensory experience. ‘Beyond blindfolds’ pushes us beyond self-imposed food enjoyment limits into virgin dining territory. We’re no longer eating with our eyes.

Letting go is even easier in total darkness. The Dans Le Noir dining concept requires us to eat in total darkness. The Dans Le Noir dining concept originated in Paris and has expanded to include London, Moscow, Barcelona in October 2009 and New York, next month.

Explore eating Noir-style via the Sydney Morning Herald’s A dinner that’s out of sight sharing their Dans le Noir London experience Diners begin eating with forks but frequently experience a moment of abandonment, where fingers no longer fight the urge to deliver the full pleasure of sensual food to hungry, expectant mouths.

This YouTube feature takes us to Opaque in LA with companion restaurants in San Francisco and San Diego, another dark dining experience.

Dining in the Dark

Back in New York, the Dark Dining Projects website seduces me with words and flights of fantasy. Let me weave a word snippet: arriving … don a featherweight blindold … immersed in velvet darkness. Other senses take over …

Savor the supper’s sensuous tastes, smells and textures. Playfully challenge your palate to tease out the mysteries of the menu… Pausing between courses, you are swept up in unexpectedly vivid performances… At the evening’s close, you are handed a sealed card in which the menu and performing artists are revealed.

New York’s Camaje restaurant was the first scene of Dark Dining Projects. For Fall 2009 dark-dining dates at Camaje and also in Brooklyn at Abigail Cafe and Wine Bar, follow link.

Ilgin Yorukoglu, 25, enjoys wine and dessert wearing a blindfold at CamaJe Bistro, 85 MacDougal Street, between Bleecker and Houston Streets, Manhattan. (Nicole Oncina/CNS) via Flickr’s Camaje restauarant Dark Dining Projectsevents occur in and out of New York from Chez Bushwick in Brooklyn to Miami’s Fisher Island Club.

The ultimate food seduction scene in movies is Kim Bassinger and Mickey Rourke, together in 9 1/2 Weeks. It’s this relationship with food — feared by many — that would put America on a diet and establish a more European relationship with the pleasures of eating and the heightened experiences of trust and intimacy.

9 1/2 Weeks Food Seduction Scene

Forgive me for stating the obvious, but creating your own dark dining experience at home could be the most intimate New York’s Eve party imaginable. Consider Valentine’s Day 2010 as a time to reawaken your relationship — not only with your lover, but with yourself.

Imagine a total stranger, bonafide bonded and safe — man or woman, as you wish, arriving to serve you dinner in the dark. In the simplest of forms, you could make your own lavish sensual feast, turn out the lights, or better yet leave them very low and perhaps candlelight, before donning your blindfold.

Sensual music must be playing, of course. Perhaps a call is scheduled an hour after you begin … perhaps … Anne