No, taste tripping has nothing to do with hallucinogens or illegal drugs. Taste tripping is where you partake of the Miracle Berry (synsepalum dulcificum) which makes sour things taste sweet. It’s pretty cool.
People in West Africa have known about the Miracle Fruit for centuries, but it didn’t become a widespread phenomenon because the berries have a fairly short shelf-life. They lose their effectiveness in a matter of days. However, a number of companies have figured out how to pulp them, dry them and mash them into a pill form that lasts much longer than the naked berry, so these days, taste tripping is available for all.
A friend of ours, Miss Mandy – the hostess with the mostest, decided she was wanted to throw a taste tripping party for her husband’s birthday this year. At a taste tripping party, you get a whole bunch of people together, have them eat Miracle Berry pills, and laugh at each other while you eat lemons and grapefruit with expressions of shock and awe.
It’s a little bit of a process, you have to drink some water to cleanse the palate (and wash away any coating you may have on your tongue), let the pill dissolve in your mouth and coat your tongue, and then you have up to an hour to taste whatever you want and marvel at the change in flavor. It affects people differently, so some will only notice a difference for 15 minutes, while others will be tasting sweetness for an hour. The average is is about 30 minutes.
Since MM is such a fantastic party-thrower, she had a whole display table set up with pre-printed directions for the Miracle Frooties, a water service and platters of cut fruit and other tasteables. I waited and watched others for a few hours before I took the plunge. This was partly because I am naturally mistrustful, and partly because there was a ton of great food that I wanted to sample before altering my tastebuds. It was fun, because everyone had the same reaction when they tasted their first lemon. It’s not often you get to see grown-ups with expressions of unfeigned, delighted surprise.
When I finally gave it a try, I was sure that I had seen enough to not be surprised when I did it. I was wrong. The stuff really works, and it is totally cool. I couldn’t eat a whole lemon wedge, the sourness was gone, but the intensity of the flavor doesn’t change. Lemons were painfully sweet for me. Grapefruit, on the other hand, was wonderful, as were limes. My favorite were the strawberries. Imagine the best strawberry you have ever eaten – the one you imagine when you see a picture of a perfect berry, the one you are hoping for every time you bite into a new strawberry. Every single bite tastes like that under the influence of the Miracle Berry. It took me back to the day my dad and I found a cluster of wild strawberries on a nature walk. All the suggestions I’ve found for things to try are different kinds of fruit, but it works on everything. Mr.B was drinking a Guinness that he swears tasted like a chocolate milkshake and I had a slice of a strong Dubliner cheese that tasted divine.
The only drawback to the experience is letting the Frootie tablet dissolve on your tongue. It’s like sucking on a Flintstones vitamin as if it were a cough drop. In the end, though, it was totally worth it. And a taste tripping party is a great way to break the ice if you have a group of people who don’t know each other. It was easy to talk to strangers while everyone was dumbfounded by their confused tastebuds. I recommend it as a fun adult party activity.