Foodbuzz 24×24: “Dinner in the Dark – A true sensory experience”

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What is that you ask? Why no, it’s not a bustier, it’s a BLINDFOLD. And now you’re asking WHAT is a blindfold doing leading off my post? Well I had this crazy little idea for a dinner party {my friends will tell you this is how all my ideas start out LOL}. Dinner in the Dark. Yes, that’s right! The DARK! I wanted to blindfold my guests and take them on a true sensory eating experience! Not your typical dinner party is it ; ) 

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Why did I do this? Well, a while back I read online about this new craze in Europe & now in some of the larger States. Dining in the Dark. I was fascinated. Food for me is a visual experience first and by taking that away WOW. People were {and are} paying HIGH dollars to have this culinary experience. So when it came time for the Foodbuzz 24×24 proposals this month I dove in, head first & submitted a proposal for my version of Dining in the Dark! And I’m excited to say that they accepted! Obviously I’m pleased as punch to be participating in my very first Foodbuzz 24×24 event!

If you’re not familiar with this event Foodbuzz chooses 24 of their featured publishers who prepare/are involved in 24 meals within a 24 hour period and then each posts their results the following day. I was honored to have been chosen considering each month some amazing dinners/events are put on all of the country & world for that matter.

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My proposal was to prepare a “Dinner in the Dark – a true sensory experience”.  By removing the sight sense all other senses will be heightened…sounds, smells, tastes, touch all would be taken to a new level. So with my somewhat daring idea in mind I set out to find six of my adventurous friends to experiment ehem experience this with. Did I mention that I would NOT be sharing with my guests their menu? Oh no, upping the ante! So much more fun! For my dishes, I wanted to take them on a culinary tour of Italy! Focusing on quality food, using quality ingriedients and taking things back to the basics. The povera cucina {poor kitchen} if you will! Bringing FLAVORS, SMELLS, TEXTURES to the forefront.

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I secured my dining victims, ehem guests very quickly and then went about trying to decide upon a menu. This task would prove far more difficult than I imagined. You see, there are lots of considerations. Textures, flavors all had to come to the forefront, and for purposes of keeping my dining room clean ehem I mean the safety of my guests nothing too hot that one would scald themselves, nothing that might fling off the plate {ala pretty woman LOL} No long pastas that would need to be twirled, and then who knew  if they would even be able to use a fork let alone a knife {yikes} so no cutting. Whew, so I tried to come up with dishes that if all else failed could be eaten with DARE I SAY your fingers! I mean no one will be able to see them afterall LOL: It was going to be a true tactile relationship with food!

On the MENU:

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Menu:

Wines for the evening: Chianti Classico, Brolio & Pinot Grigio

NOTE: Recipes for the dishes with no links (Prosciutto e Melone, Gazpacho, Arancini) will be posted to the blog shortly so check back often.

So with Italian music playing in the background and smells wafting throughout the kitchen we set out to see if indeed these senses would be heightened. I truly enjoyed watching their faces as they very slowly located the food on their plates {sometimes this was easier said than done}, took their first bites, and then delighted in their moans of happiness as they cleaned each and every bite from EACH and EVERY plate. I enjoyed their conversations between courses and seeing the anticipation on their faces as each new plate arrived. I am very blessed to have such adventurous friends! They made this evening so much fun! Here’s what a few of them had to say about the night:

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LB said “Dinner in the Dark is a fun and unique way to dine. I found it so interesting to eat blindly relying on taste and aroma to figure out what you’re being served. Also it was oddly liberating to talk with people when you can’t see how they’re responding to you. I can’t wait to host my own D in the D. ”

AM said “Paula’s Dinner in the Dark was absolutely AMAZING!!! We were confident that being ‘in the dark’ about what we would be eating was completely safe with Paula as our cook and we were NOT disappointed!! We enjoyed every single bite (and sip!) of the mysterious food she placed in front of us, and the experience of eating blindfolded was really fun!”

MB said “as I grow older, I’m starting to look for other things that are fun in the dark. This is definitely near the top of the list”!

After using almost every plate, cup, wine glass and piece of silver ware in my house and working for nearly two days straight prepping I can say with confidence that I would definitely do this again! I loved every minute of it {well maybe not the almost cutting my finger off part but hey hazard of the job right and one VERY sharp knife LOL}

The perfect ending to end a perfect dinner with friends…homemade Limoncello! Salute {Cheers} !

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45 Comments

  1. 1

    Awesome stuff Paula – I was so curious about your 24×24 event!!! This looks as good as, if not better than most of those “real dine in the dark places!!! What a menu!!! Bravo and well done on your first (and surely not your last!) 24 event!!!

  2. 2

    That would be so cool. Now you will have to try to cook a meal in the dark. I think you could do the Chicken Marsala without looking.

  3. 3

    What an amazing experience you provided for your guests, loved the menu too!

  4. 4

    You are brave to have tried this and it sounds like lots of fun for you and your guests.

  5. 5

    Sounds like an amazing experience. What a great blog post.

  6. 6

    Ooh what fun! I’ve heard of this trend too but wasn’t really sure what to make of it. I’m glad it worked out well! The food looked delicious (even if the guests couldn’t see it, haha).

  7. 7

    What a great idea to do this in your own home!! What a fun experience. Will have to try it. Great menu.

  8. 8

    Oh! You think out of the box. Love it. I want to try this too!
    LL
    P.S. I like your friends.

  9. 9

    What a fun and unique experience! I’d love to try doing this in my own home sometime.

  10. 10

    I can see why your dinner was chosen for 24×24 – great concept and fabulous menu! What a grand sensory experience for you and your guests!

  11. 11

    What a fun blindfolded dinner in the dark ! Wish I was one of your guest :p I dun mind at all being blindfolded with all the great food before me !

  12. 12

    This must have been a fun evening! The menu looked wonderful, so I am sure everyone enjoyed the food whether they could see it or not. This was a great idea.

  13. 13

    Impressive and fun. I am trying to think if I could eat blindfolded…. – how do I spear the food? The menu would be worth the trial and error!

  14. 14

    I’m sure your guests did trust that they would be served fabulous food; I would be happy to eat with you in the daylight or the dark. Thanks for sharing the experience!

  15. 15

    Looks like a really fun event! Your photos of the food are lovely, as usual. Can I ask where you got the blindfolds – even your blindfolds are classy!

  16. 16

    What a great idea! Looks marvelous.

  17. 17
    lisa Bailey /

    My husband and I were fortunate to be two of the guests and it was a fabulous night. We went into this without reservation as we’ve experienced Paula’s cooking before and I’ve used many (ok, nearly all) her recipes in our own kitchen. It was tons of fun and I can’t wait to make each dish myself and host my own party!
    Thanks again for having us Paula!

  18. 18
    Rose in Ohio (@RoseMillsOhio) /

    Sensational! Your friends are so fortunate…
    I’d love to be a part of a “dining in the dark” experience, either as host or guest, except for one thing. I’d totally have to be strapped into my chair to keep from falling out of it. I lose all sense of balance when I can’t see.
    (PS Of course, I could eat your delicious-sounding dishes on the floor with no problem, if it came to that.)
    Congratulations on having your unique proposal accepted by Foodbuzz!

  19. 19

    Its an amazing experience, a few years ago when the first ‘Dinner in the dark’ restaurant opened in Paris we decided to tempt our fate/luck ? :) Came out a little shaken but ate the most incredible dishes

  20. 20

    What a fun idea, I hadn’t heard of that before your post. Any accidental fork injuries? ;)

  21. 21

    What a cool idea!

  22. 22

    I wish I was a more adventurous diner so I could try this. It seems like tons of fun!

  23. 23

    That looks like so much fun! And that ravioli looks divine…I would blindfold myself if I could eat that! – http://www.delightfulcountrycookin.com

  24. 24

    Amazing post and fantastic idea for 24×24! Everything looks wonderful:)

  25. 25

    What an amazing idea… And, it looks like quite an amazing dinner party! Of course all of the food looks incredible, as always. Spectacular!

  26. 26

    What an Awesome idea!!!! Love it!!! Loved the Idea, the Menu & the Photography!!! Bravo!!! :)

  27. 27

    great idea!, great menu!

  28. 28

    I must say this was brilliant! What a fun and interesting experience, wish I could have been your guest :)

  29. 29

    That is such a cool idea! I saw an episode of CSI years ago that had a storyline about that. I thought it was a cool idea then, too (minus the murder lol).

  30. 30

    So creative!!! I should pitch this idea to my friends…I wonder if they trust me enough ;)

  31. 31

    What a creative and fun idea! I love it!

  32. 32

    Wow, what a cool and original concept! I love the idea and will almost definitely swipe it (ahem) be inspired by it in the future!

    Congrats on the 24×24 — we also did one this month, and I still haven’t finished all the dishes!

  33. 33

    Great job, Paula! I think almost stranger than not seeing your food is not seeing the people you’re talking to. It must have been a really fun event with a great menu.

  34. 34

    Wow! What a great idea! And the menu looked fantastic. Well done. :)

  35. 35

    Not only is your menu fabulous but that just looks like so much fun :) Well done darlin’!!

  36. 36

    What a great concept! Stunning menu! Very impressive!!

  37. 37

    How fun that you could just watch everyone enjoy. Great idea and delicious menu. I’m awaiting some meyer lemons from my tree to make some limoncello. Coming back for your recipe!

  38. 38

    What a fun idea!! I hadn’t heard of these kind of parties before but I am super interested and inticed to having one myself now. It sounds like a lot of fun!

  39. 39

    Oh my goodness, I’m so jealous of all of your guests! Why do I have to live so far away? *Sigh* The meal looks like it was absolutely amazing! You did a great job picking everything out. WOW.

  40. 40

    What a fabulous post Paula! I love how you planned every detail of what you would be serving. I so want to host my own d in d! Thanks for the inspiration!!

  41. 41

    Funny – This same exact idea and concept was showed on the Travel Channel a couple of months ago. A supper club in San Fran, CA has been doing this every 4 months for the past few years.

    SO AWESOME AND CRAZY FUN!

  42. 42

    Very, very, very cool.

    This is the exact reason why I’m huge fan of blind beer tastings. Not only are your senses heightened but there is also zero chance of any previous brand loyalty swaying your opinion of what you’re tasting.

    I have some culinarily-adventurous friends that would love to be part of something like this. Thanks for sharing!

  43. 43

    I love it. How incredibly creative. It makes me want to try something like this at home.

  44. 44

    this is too cool!!! one of the best 24x24x24 ideas i’ve seen yet (i’m continually dazzled by everyones cleverness each month). how fun and amazing!

  45. 45

    Tantalizing concept for entertaining the curious. Great photography. Do it again.

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