Taste Trippin’ with Miracle Berries

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if there were no bitter or sour and the world tasted sweet like candy? If you have, there is an answer to your prayers, and it’s called the Miracle Berry.

Having had the privilege of hosting two prior 24, 24, 24 events, I decided to do something a little different for this month’s Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 event. Miracle Berries are a relatively recent discovery for me and I clearly remember my first time. From the initial shock of the dazzling sweetness of a wedge of lemon, to the uncontrollable urge to raid the pantry and fridge of everything with the slightest hint of tartness; it was a mind bending experience. A small miracle that I wanted to share with friends, so I was very excited to learn that my proposal was accepted by Foodbuzz.

Miracle Berries are a West African fruit with the unusual property of making sour and bitter foods taste sweet. It’s unknown exactly how the process works, but an active glycoprotein binds to bitter and sour taste receptors on your tongue, temporarily disabling them. This allows you to taste food in a completely different way. Lemons taste like lemonaid, blackberries taste like candy, and Guinness tastes like chocolate milk.

Because the actual berries are extremely perishable, there are a few companies freeze-drying the fruit with some cornstarch and pressing them into tablets, which makes them available to anyone with an Internet connection. After ordering them through eBay for about eleven bucks a pack, this dealer got two packs out to me in 3 days.

Since the miraculin acts on your taste buds, you have to chew up the tablets into a paste and coat your tongue with it for a minute. For most people 1/2 a tablet seemed to be about the right amount, but for others it took 2 tablets before they noticed any change. We also had one guest for whom it didn’t work at all.

While it effects anything that tastes sour or bitter (dill pickles and IPA were two of the more unusual things to taste sweet), it obviously tastes best with fruit. We had the bar stocked with red wine, white wine, Guinness, Boddingtons, Zyr Vodka, cachaça, Meyer lemons and limes, but no simple syrup. While the Meyer Lemon Drops and Caipirinhas would have tasted unpalatabley sour to most people, the tablets made them perfectly sweetened, sugar-free cocktails.

Gem-like blood oranges taste and look fantastic in cocktails, but they are a little too bitter and sour for most people to eat straight. Ripe pineapple is sweet, but it can taste too acidic for some people.

It just feels wrong to sprinkle sugar on fruit, but there are some fruits that just don’t taste sweet enough for me, even at their peak ripeness. Kumquats (top left), Granny Smith Apples (top right) and Blackberries (bottom left) are just three examples of such fruits and I inevitably end up turning them into a jam, pie or some kind of savoury dish. Grape Tomatoes (bottom right) while pretty sweet, can’t quite pass as the fruit that they are without the help of some sugar. But one dose of Miracle Fruit is all it takes to make these taste like fresh little candies.

Red bell peppers and carrot sticks no longer need to be relegated to a veggie platter. Under the influence, these could almost pass as a healthy refreshing dessert.

Capricho de Cabra and Drunken Goat Cheese were my choice for the cheese tray since goat cheeses tend to be on the tart side. The Capricho de Cabra came close to tasting like a funky cream cheese frosting while the Drunken Goat ended up tasting like Stilton.

Out-of-season strawberries and blackberries sent some people on a heavenly trip.

For some people the berries brought out their inner rockstar.

For others, it didn’t work at all.

But everyone seemed to enjoy the experience and even non-partakers got into the act.

While there’s still enough beer to fuel a college size kegger, the munchies took over and the fruit was swiftly cleaned out.

Thanks to all who attended for making this a fun and memorable event. Special thanks go out to Foodbuzz for sponsoring and to fellow food bloggers, Stacey from Stacey Snacks, Claire from Colloquial Cooking and Stéphane from Chefs Gone Wild for attending.

  • http://constableslarder.blogspot.com/ Giff

    Glad this was a fun experience. Sounds trippy. btw I love that photo of claire in the background near the top of the post. She very intelligently dressed to match your interior design colors ;-)

  • http://constableslarder.blogspot.com Giff

    Glad this was a fun experience. Sounds trippy. btw I love that photo of claire in the background near the top of the post. She very intelligently dressed to match your interior design colors ;-)

  • Zenchef

    Marc, thank you so much for having us. I had a great time! My favorites… the company, the magic kumquats and the drinks. I can’t get over the amount of glamour on this post! Who are all these sexy people? :-)

    If you need help to clean-up the beer I’m available Monday through Friday from 7 to Midnight. :-)

  • Zenchef

    Marc, thank you so much for having us. I had a great time! My favorites… the company, the magic kumquats and the drinks. I can’t get over the amount of glamour on this post! Who are all these sexy people? :-)

    If you need help to clean-up the beer I’m available Monday through Friday from 7 to Midnight. :-)

  • http://staceysnacksonline.com/ Stacey Snacks

    Marc,
    What great photos!!!! Thanks for including Henry the “try anything once” guy and me, the non participant, except of course the delicious passion fruit martini!
    Thank you!
    Stacey

  • http://staceysnacksonline.com Stacey Snacks

    Marc,
    What great photos!!!! Thanks for including Henry the “try anything once” guy and me, the non participant, except of course the delicious passion fruit martini!
    Thank you!
    Stacey

  • http://www.justgetfloury.com/ Ginny

    Awesome! I was thinking that would be a great idea for 24,24,24 but never got my act together to put it together. Sounds like fun! i really need to try it one of these days! :)

  • http://www.justgetfloury.com Ginny

    Awesome! I was thinking that would be a great idea for 24,24,24 but never got my act together to put it together. Sounds like fun! i really need to try it one of these days! :)

  • http://stickygooeycreamychewy.blogspot.com/ Susan at Sticky,Gooey,Creamy,C

    I read about the Miracle Fruit several months ago and I was so intrigued. You all must have had a great time trying it out. What a fantastic twist for a cocktail party!

  • http://stickygooeycreamychewy.blogspot.com Susan at Sticky,Gooey,Creamy,Chewy

    I read about the Miracle Fruit several months ago and I was so intrigued. You all must have had a great time trying it out. What a fantastic twist for a cocktail party!

  • http://fivestarfoodie.blogspot.com/ Natasha – 5 Star Foodie

    Fabulous party! I’ll have to try some of that Miracle fruit – very interesting!

  • http://fivestarfoodie.blogspot.com Natasha – 5 Star Foodie

    Fabulous party! I’ll have to try some of that Miracle fruit – very interesting!

  • http://www.practicallydone.com/ helen

    I have never heard of anything like it. It really bends the mind. Hmm…, I wonder what it’ll make cough syrup taste like?

    Did you try it with bittersweet chocolate? And coffee?

  • http://www.practicallydone.com helen

    I have never heard of anything like it. It really bends the mind. Hmm…, I wonder what it’ll make cough syrup taste like?

    Did you try it with bittersweet chocolate? And coffee?

  • http://www.redcook.net Kian

    I’d wanted to try this fruit since reading about it in the NY Times. What an experience it must have been. Great post!

  • http://www.redcook.net Kian

    I’d wanted to try this fruit since reading about it in the NY Times. What an experience it must have been. Great post!

  • http://souvlakiforthesoul.com/ Peter G

    This has to be the most unique thing I have ever seen and heard! I’m beyond intrigued and of course will order some…talk about a legal “trip”!…LOL I’m gob smacked Marc!

  • http://souvlakiforthesoul.com Peter G

    This has to be the most unique thing I have ever seen and heard! I’m beyond intrigued and of course will order some…talk about a legal “trip”!…LOL I’m gob smacked Marc!

  • http://www.thepinkpeppercorn.blogspot.com/ thepinkpeppercorn

    Very interesting! I’d never heard of this fruit before – so thanks for sharing! GREAT photos.

  • http://www.thepinkpeppercorn.blogspot.com thepinkpeppercorn

    Very interesting! I’d never heard of this fruit before – so thanks for sharing! GREAT photos.

  • http://foodalogue.com/ Joan Nova

    This is fascinating. I think somewhere in the foggy recess of my mind I’ve heard of it before. Sounds like such fun — and your food photos are terrific.

  • http://foodalogue.com Joan Nova

    This is fascinating. I think somewhere in the foggy recess of my mind I’ve heard of it before. Sounds like such fun — and your food photos are terrific.

  • Emily

    My brother told me about this a couple months ago and I was so fascinated…thanks for posting!

  • Emily

    My brother told me about this a couple months ago and I was so fascinated…thanks for posting!

  • http://illeatyou.com/ Lauren

    When Ryan from foodbuzz came to dinner her in Philly, she said someone was doing a magic berry 24 24 24. I couldn’t wait to read about it! This sounds fascinating!! I’ve been wanting to try these- super cool idea!

  • http://illeatyou.com Lauren

    When Ryan from foodbuzz came to dinner her in Philly, she said someone was doing a magic berry 24 24 24. I couldn’t wait to read about it! This sounds fascinating!! I’ve been wanting to try these- super cool idea!

  • http://www.kalofagas.blogspot.com/ Peter

    Marc, thanks for the education (only heard of the berries) but will seek them out.

    It’ also nice to see some familiar faces and live vicariously through these NYC postings.

    Another fab 24 event!

  • http://www.kalofagas.blogspot.com Peter

    Marc, thanks for the education (only heard of the berries) but will seek them out.

    It’ also nice to see some familiar faces and live vicariously through these NYC postings.

    Another fab 24 event!

  • Samantha

    Cranberries.
    The most amazing change was being able to eat cranberries. Next time, I’ll try kumquats.

  • Samantha

    Cranberries.
    The most amazing change was being able to eat cranberries. Next time, I’ll try kumquats.

  • http://feistyfoodie.blogspot.com/ Yvo

    Sounds cool. I wanted to do something like that but a friend of mine mentioned that the berries are actually poison… shrugs. Still, cool to see what you found :)

    • marc

      I’m curious where your friend got their info from? I’m usually super paranoid about this kind of thing so I looked up the major chemical constituents and about the worst thing it has is a very small quantity (.0003 g per tablet) of oxalic acid which is a mild irritant found in much higher concentrations in tropical fruits, black pepper, parsley, spinach, chocolate, and most berries.

  • http://feistyfoodie.blogspot.com Yvo

    Sounds cool. I wanted to do something like that but a friend of mine mentioned that the berries are actually poison… shrugs. Still, cool to see what you found :)

    • marc

      I’m curious where your friend got their info from? I’m usually super paranoid about this kind of thing so I looked up the major chemical constituents and about the worst thing it has is a very small quantity (.0003 g per tablet) of oxalic acid which is a mild irritant found in much higher concentrations in tropical fruits, black pepper, parsley, spinach, chocolate, and most berries.

  • http://www.foodgal.com/ Carolyn Jung

    I’ve tried the miracle fruit. Maybe I needed to let it stay on my tongue longer at the start, but I found the results a lot less dramatic than I thought they would be. Lemons and limes did taste less tart, but I didn’t think they turned candy-sweet post-miracle fruit. I did like the effect it had on beer, though. It made it almost taste like chocolate milk. Miracle fruit is definitely a fun party experience. And everyone should try it — at least once.

  • http://www.foodgal.com Carolyn Jung

    I’ve tried the miracle fruit. Maybe I needed to let it stay on my tongue longer at the start, but I found the results a lot less dramatic than I thought they would be. Lemons and limes did taste less tart, but I didn’t think they turned candy-sweet post-miracle fruit. I did like the effect it had on beer, though. It made it almost taste like chocolate milk. Miracle fruit is definitely a fun party experience. And everyone should try it — at least once.

  • http://duodishes.wordpress.com/ The Duo Dishes

    We’re dying to try miracle fruit! Can you host a follow up party and invite us? :) Eating it with cheese is a really interesting idea as usually people do fruits and veggies. You really fashioned up a menu that would tingle taste buds. Literally!

  • http://duodishes.wordpress.com The Duo Dishes

    We’re dying to try miracle fruit! Can you host a follow up party and invite us? :) Eating it with cheese is a really interesting idea as usually people do fruits and veggies. You really fashioned up a menu that would tingle taste buds. Literally!

  • http://lisaiscooking.blogspot.com/ lisaiscooking

    Interesting. I wonder if the people for whom it didn’t work have similar likes/dislikes in food–if they have similar taste buds.?

    • http://www.mattwallaert.com/ matt wallaert

      i’m the one for whom it didn’t work, and we were kicking around all sorts of theories as to why it might not have worked for me.

      for one, i’m anosmic, so i have no sense of smell. you would think this would make it work better for me, though, since i rely so heavily on my tongue (like marc, i cook without recipes and mostly by taste and experience).

      but i am very partial to sweet foods to begin with, which might imply that i actually have a lower count of bitter and sour receptors than most people. the guys over at Monell always said that different people were born with different amounts of receptors, so it is entirely possible that my enjoyment of sweet and sweet/sour candy may be a product of a lower sour/bitter bud count. which means that the miracle berry just didn’t have much to act on, unfortunately.

      either way, it was a great time…i’ve been invited to all of marc’s 24 24 24 events, and while i turned down Thanksgiving for other reasons, you can be sure i’ll never miss another. even if i’m not as photogenic as his other lovely guests. *grins*

  • http://lisaiscooking.blogspot.com/ lisaiscooking

    Interesting. I wonder if the people for whom it didn’t work have similar likes/dislikes in food–if they have similar taste buds.?

    • http://www.mattwallaert.com matt wallaert

      i’m the one for whom it didn’t work, and we were kicking around all sorts of theories as to why it might not have worked for me.

      for one, i’m anosmic, so i have no sense of smell. you would think this would make it work better for me, though, since i rely so heavily on my tongue (like marc, i cook without recipes and mostly by taste and experience).

      but i am very partial to sweet foods to begin with, which might imply that i actually have a lower count of bitter and sour receptors than most people. the guys over at Monell always said that different people were born with different amounts of receptors, so it is entirely possible that my enjoyment of sweet and sweet/sour candy may be a product of a lower sour/bitter bud count. which means that the miracle berry just didn’t have much to act on, unfortunately.

      either way, it was a great time…i’ve been invited to all of marc’s 24 24 24 events, and while i turned down Thanksgiving for other reasons, you can be sure i’ll never miss another. even if i’m not as photogenic as his other lovely guests. *grins*

  • http://www.notquitenigella.com/ Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella

    That sounds fantastic! Wow, love the idea of this. I wonder where I could get these here in Australia?

  • http://www.notquitenigella.com Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella

    That sounds fantastic! Wow, love the idea of this. I wonder where I could get these here in Australia?

  • http://www.thedailyspud.com/ Daily Spud

    Wow – something that would make Guinness taste like chocolate milk would be mind-bending indeed!

  • http://www.thedailyspud.com Daily Spud

    Wow – something that would make Guinness taste like chocolate milk would be mind-bending indeed!

  • http://www.brooklynfarmhouse.com/ brooklyn farmhouse

    Marc – your photographs just keep getting better and better. Super interesting post, too!

  • http://www.brooklynfarmhouse.com brooklyn farmhouse

    Marc – your photographs just keep getting better and better. Super interesting post, too!

  • http://www.buffchickpea.com/ Hayley

    This is sooo cool. I’ve never heard of anything like this. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.buffchickpea.com Hayley

    This is sooo cool. I’ve never heard of anything like this. Thanks for sharing!

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  • http://www.takeitlikeit.blogspot.com/ CourtJ

    This sounds unreal! What a crazy tasting party!

  • http://www.takeitlikeit.blogspot.com CourtJ

    This sounds unreal! What a crazy tasting party!

  • http://wanderingchopsticks.blogspot.com/ Wandering Chopsticks

    This was a Law and Order episode. The miracle fruit made everything taste so good that a woman drank drain cleaner.

  • http://wanderingchopsticks.blogspot.com Wandering Chopsticks

    This was a Law and Order episode. The miracle fruit made everything taste so good that a woman drank drain cleaner.

  • http://noobcook.com/ noobcook

    What a cute idea for foodbuzz 24! All the photos are just so lovely =D

  • http://noobcook.com noobcook

    What a cute idea for foodbuzz 24! All the photos are just so lovely =D

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com/ we are never full

    so interesting… and so bummed we weren’t there to join in on the fun. it looks like you were all at an acid party but then had the munchies? was that wrong to say?

  • http://www.weareneverfull.com we are never full

    so interesting… and so bummed we weren’t there to join in on the fun. it looks like you were all at an acid party but then had the munchies? was that wrong to say?

  • http://chezannies.blogspot.com/ Nate

    Congratulations on being selected for 24, 24, 24. What a unique concept! I’ve heard about these miracle berry parties, and even watched an episode of CSI about the aftermath of one such party.

    Thanks for the heads up that you can find these tablets on eBay now.

    We also did a 24, 24, 24 dinner, though we focused on a Chinese New Year theme. Come check out our post!

  • http://chezannies.blogspot.com Nate

    Congratulations on being selected for 24, 24, 24. What a unique concept! I’ve heard about these miracle berry parties, and even watched an episode of CSI about the aftermath of one such party.

    Thanks for the heads up that you can find these tablets on eBay now.

    We also did a 24, 24, 24 dinner, though we focused on a Chinese New Year theme. Come check out our post!

  • http://www.cookeatfret.com/ claudia (cook eat FRET)

    been dying to try these
    might place an order

    really fun and interesting post
    thanks marc!

  • http://www.cookeatfret.com claudia (cook eat FRET)

    been dying to try these
    might place an order

    really fun and interesting post
    thanks marc!

  • http://www.dandysugar.com/ lisa (dandysugar)

    I’ve heard some interesting things about these berries. Great post, thanks for sharing this info. Great photos!

  • http://www.dandysugar.com lisa (dandysugar)

    I’ve heard some interesting things about these berries. Great post, thanks for sharing this info. Great photos!

  • http://www.familyfriendlyfood.com/ Nurit – 1 family. friendly. fo

    I guess I am a conservative eater, or geek, in that sense, but I prefer to buy the best ingredients I can, in season, fresh, and enjoy it as nature intended.

    • what???!!!

      ah so you only eat raw meat and veg? never season things? don’t clean your food?

  • http://www.familyfriendlyfood.com/ Nurit – 1 family. friendly. food.

    I guess I am a conservative eater, or geek, in that sense, but I prefer to buy the best ingredients I can, in season, fresh, and enjoy it as nature intended.

  • http://www.eatshowandtell.com/ linda

    I’m glad you did a post on the miracle fruit. I read about it a couple of months ago and was immediately intrigued. After plenty of research, I found out the only people that stock them were the farms in Queensland, I contacted all 5, however none of them agreed to send it to NSW, because as you mentioned, they are very perishable. I really wanted to test it out on bitter melon.

  • http://www.eatshowandtell.com linda

    I’m glad you did a post on the miracle fruit. I read about it a couple of months ago and was immediately intrigued. After plenty of research, I found out the only people that stock them were the farms in Queensland, I contacted all 5, however none of them agreed to send it to NSW, because as you mentioned, they are very perishable. I really wanted to test it out on bitter melon.

  • http://kellyspinkapron.blogspot.com/ Kelly

    Congrats on being selected. My boyfriend and I have been very curious about the miracle berries so I really enjoyed your post. So interesting to read about.

  • http://kellyspinkapron.blogspot.com Kelly

    Congrats on being selected. My boyfriend and I have been very curious about the miracle berries so I really enjoyed your post. So interesting to read about.

  • http://www.eatingclubvancouver.com/ _ts of [eatingclub] vancouver

    Another great 24, 24, 24 post! It woudl certainly be trippin’ to suddenly have these foods taste like candy!

    (Hmm, I don’t remember that L&O episode… and I thought I had seen them all!)

  • http://www.eatingclubvancouver.com _ts of [eatingclub] vancouver

    Another great 24, 24, 24 post! It woudl certainly be trippin’ to suddenly have these foods taste like candy!

    (Hmm, I don’t remember that L&O episode… and I thought I had seen them all!)

  • http://www.tan-kitchen.com/ Tan

    Hi Marc,
    Congratulations for wonderful taste set, wonderful time, wonderful friends, wonderful pics posted. All it fantastic here.

    Have a wonderful weekend.
    Tan.;)

  • http://www.tan-kitchen.com Tan

    Hi Marc,
    Congratulations for wonderful taste set, wonderful time, wonderful friends, wonderful pics posted. All it fantastic here.

    Have a wonderful weekend.
    Tan.;)

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  • http://www.pinoycravings.com/ Pinoy Food Cravings

    I cant help but drool, you have the best selection of colorful fruits:)

  • http://www.pinoycravings.com Pinoy Food Cravings

    I cant help but drool, you have the best selection of colorful fruits:)

  • Cuban

    You’re an uppity motherfucker aren’t you?

  • http://www.MiracleFruitHut.com/ MIRACLE FRUIT HUT

    Looks wonderful! Have you tried the Fresh miracle berries? the experience is even greater and the most natural. The tablets are great for long term storage and still a great experience. We offer the plants, tablets and Fresh berries. The exquisite taste of organic fruit is truly a flavor tripping experience! So many wonderful chef creations can compliment the miracle berry it’s just a case of exploring!

    Click our name to check out recipe ideas or for a supply of Miracle fruit in the most Organic high quality forms!

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      The fresh berries were hard to find (and expensive) at the time, but I’ve since been using fresh berries.

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