Oh, Say Can You See?—Adventures in Dining

Disclaimer – all food photos are taken blind-folded

FullSizeRender_2Blind-folded Selfie

It’s said that vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others. If that is true then dining blind-folded is a curious wonder. Brave participants recently lined up at the Kona Hotel on Hawaii Island to experience culinary art through visual sensory deprivation. The result was an enhanced coup d’etat of the remaining senses and an evening of adventurous fun.

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Chef Hamilton and his lovely muse, fine artist Kira Kamamalu, out-did themselves with their latest culinary fete. This journey of the senses was unique in many ways—beginning with being blind-folded and led to the dining table. Once vision was eliminated, other senses stepped up to the plate (literally) and guests were surrounded with the heightened smells, tastes, sounds and textures of the evening.

FullSizeRenderChef Hamilton welcoming guest before getting blind-folded

A combination of exquisite food, live classical piano and the chatter of friends, filled the room with anticipation and joy. Table monitors served each course with a verbal proclamation and described when and where each paired cocktail was placed. Participants were not allowed to know the contents of each of the nine courses until the end of the evening. And did I mention there were no utensils? Finger foods allowed the textures to be felt first on the fingers before reaching the tongue.

FullSizeRender_12Guests getting blindfolded

The conversation was lively and fun, often turning to guessing the ingredients of each dish. Diners described the textures, flavors and aromas of each course as they carefully reached for every bite and sip.

FullSizeRender_1Foie Gras/Pomigranite/Macnut

Trust in the chef, and a willingness to experiment and try new flavors is key. Imagine digging into your meal with no explanation or fanfare. Talk about paying attention to every bite and nuance in flavor! It’s an experience like no other.

FullSizeRender_3Pistachio/Plantain/Avocado/Chocolate

It’s truly a gourmand feast designed to amplify the remaining senses. One part Twilight Zone with a dash of Babbett’s Feast, dining in the dark is an experience in epicureanism and human behavior for lovers of art and good food.

FullSizeRender_5Pineapple/Saffron/Goat Cheese/Sea Salt/Smoke

Removing our blindfolds at the end of the dinner felt someone assaulting. I grew comfortable partaking and conversing in the comfort of darkness. We were given a copy of the menu (designed to look like an eye chart), resulting in the gallery being filled with many “oohs and aahs” in response to discovering the ingredients of the mystery meal.

FullSizeRender_6Ahi/Coconut/Sesame/Line/Smoked Shoyu/Ghost Chili

Overall, the experience was unique, enjoyable and delicious. Dining in the dark is like the X-games of food reviewing–the skydiving of sports. If ever offered the opportunity for such culinary adventure, take advantage and make it happen!

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Duck/Pastry/Orange/Walnut/Rose

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Wagyu Beef/Egg Bottarga

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Arugula (Ice)/French Vinigrette (Ice)

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Cheese/Chocolate/Fruit/Honey/Preserves

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