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“Dark Dining:” Wonder if Maui is ready for such a bold concept?

August 19, 2011 - Carla Tracy

I remember when Alan Jahns of JMD Beverages hosted a “Funeral for the Cork” wine tasting event on Maui at the old Cafe Marc Aurel. Bonny Doon founder Randall Grahm actually dreamed up the idea. It’s widely publicized that he held elaborate “funerals” in New York City and near his Santa Cruz vineyards, because of cork taint, which ruins the contents of the wine bottle.

Apparently, about 10 percent of all corks get tainted and that is why so many wineries are reverting to the Stelvin screw cap. But I digress.

I’m only mentioning the Funeral for the Cork in this blog about “Dark Dining” because I want to say it’s a quirky idea for a party, as people dress in black and add their own fun embellishments. Grahm even hired a sculptor to make a corpse of corks, and he took it over the top with a hearse, pall bearers and the whole nine yards.

“Dark Dining” is another concept that may appeal to the eccentrics among us.

Apparently Chef Adrianne Calvo is a Miami, Florida-based culinary artist whose is accomplished for her constant willingness to innovate. We hear she will continue her highly regarded Dark Dining series this month with two consecutive south-of-the-border themed nights entitled "Once Upon A Time In Mexico."

These events will be held at Chef Adrianne's Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar, “the enclave that has become an epicenter of gastronomic creativity in the highly competitive South Florida restaurant scene,” according to a press release.

“The concept of ‘Dark Dining,’ which enjoyed significant popularity throughout Europe for several years before its introduction in various major cities throughout the United States, has been defined as "a sensory overload encounter that maximizes the art of flavor by suppressing vision, and therefore creates the ultimate in dining experience," the release continues.

“The concept was introduced on a wide scale in the Zurich, Switzerland-based eatery Blindekuh in 1999, which was owned by blind clergyman Jorge Spielmann. European cities such as Paris, Cologne, Berlin, and Hamburg eventually followed suit and now boast numerous restaurants that feature this extraordinary dining alternative.”

So I guess you would wear dark clothes in case you spilled or dribbled. But then again, who would be noticing? Perhaps the servers. Or the chef. Or would they be blindfolded, too? Of course, between courses, they would have to let you take off the blindfold in the event you would need to excuse yourself.

Personally, I think Dark Dining would be fun. You would really be able to put your palate to the test. Aromas, textures and familiarity would help you try and determine the ingredients in each course. It would make for fun dinner conversation, too. It should also serve give us more compassion for our sightless friends and neighbors.

Is Maui ready?


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