Wendy and I arrived early in order to chat everyone up and do some filming for the Intertubez (that footage will be arriving soon . . . I forgot my camera so nothing’s on Flickr, sorry). We met a lot of the Thrillist team, all of whom were very talkative and friendly and accommodating when our cameramen showed up. John was particularly cool about being on camera with us as we experimented, and Franz, who is apparently responsible for starting the recent Miracle Fruit craze, was equally rad about appearing on camera.
In case you haven’t heard, Miracle Fruit is an African berry called Synsepalum dulcificum . . . those of you who are decent at Latin roots might guess that that means something like “screws up your taste buds and makes stuff sweet.” You’d be right.
We popped the fruit in our mouths and scraped the pulp off, and let the juice coat our tongues. The fruit itself was pleasant but nothing crazy, and around the pit it had a bitter taste. We spit out the pits and waited a minute to allow the juices to take effect.
The fruit contains a substance called miraculin, which seems to alter the sweet receptors on your tongue so that they fire when you eat something sour. So, after waiting a bit, we promptly bit into large slices of lemon. They were delicious! They tasted like lemon candy, with the faint reminder of lemon lurking behind a curtain of sugary goodness.
Next we tried our drinks. I had a certain bottle of beer that I normally don’t like because it’s too hoppy. Again, delicious, kind of like sweetened hard lemonade. The drinks were free, so after I downed that I asked the bartender to give me the sourest, lemoniest vodka cocktail she had. Whatever she gave me tasted like liquid candy and I could have downed it in 30 seconds if I hadn’t been aware that it’s a Tuesday night and I have to work tomorrow.
For me, the effect lasted about 40 minutes for one berry, though I had a couple to keep the fun going. Wendy, sadly, was less enthused about the berry and found that the lemons still tasted pretty sour to her. She mentioned off-handedly that she’s a supertaster, which might have something to do with it. I wondered if it could be that the fruit can’t overcome a supertaster’s abundance of taste buds (and after looking it up, I see that technically supertasters may have an abundance of fungiform papillae, the little nubs on your tongue that hold some of the taste buds). It’s an interesting thought, anyway.
Some people may be wondering if the Miracle Fruit is really worth it, since it tends to sell for $2 to $3 per tiny berry. To that I would say that yeah, it’s worth it. Will it change your life? Um, no. It’s not like doing a tab of acid or anything (uh, as far as I know), but at the current price it’s a bit of fun, at least for one or two berries.
However, when heeding my advice please bear in mind that I think just about any new experience is worth just about any price that doesn’t break the bank. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to lick this wall some more before retiring to bed to dream of impossibly sweet lemon trees.