I had originally intended to chronicle my highly anticipated miracle fruit party with a video blog, but unfortunately, I absentmindedly left my camera in my girlfriend’s closet the day before the party… so that’s kind of a bummer, but oh well. The main reason I wanted to do a video blog (or “vlog” as the kids call it these days… ugh) was to capture the sort of gluttonous, unrestrained feeding frenzy and giddy, wide-eyed excitement that ensued after popping the unassuming little red fruits. The bewildered double takes, the grabby hands, the exclamations of “Oh my god!” and the looks on our faces… ah, no words can really do the experience justice. But looking back, I don’t think I could have been bothered to film anything anyway. I was too busy stuffing my face with all sorts of things I would ordinarily never think to nominate as face-stuffing material.
But then, that’s the miracle of miracle fruit…
For about an hour after sucking/chewing/gargling the fruit for three minutes, lemons tasted something like lemonade or lemon drops; the acidity was still there, but flushed with a juicy, exuberant sweetness. Fresh yuzu was similarly sugarcoated, allowing its singular piney-herbal flavor to shine through, and the light citric zing of grapefruit and dekopon completely disappeared. The dekopon were like little orange gems, almost unquestionably the most gushingly sweet citrus I’ve ever wrapped my teeth around. Marmite’s bitterness and tang were significantly subdued, but this made its sodium content way too noticeable, brutally sandblasting the palate with unforgiving saltiness. Beers were remarkably different; hop bitterness was almost completely erased, making Pilseners taste like mead and exposing happoshu as the offensively bland sparkling sugar water it is. A fresh Old Rasputin Russian imperial stout tasted like it had been cellared for a year, its raw, citric West Coast hops pushed beneath a splendidly sweet comforter of malty chocolate and almond flavors. Coopers Best Extra Stout was magically transormed into Mackeson XXX Stout. Red wine tasted like vaguely alcoholic grape juice, or some sort of mediocre pre-mixed sangria. Herbal liquors tasted as though they had been mixed with sugar cubes; Campari mostly lost its bitter edge to become a syrupy sweet and lightly spicy herbal tincture of sorts, while gin and tonics turned into something more like gin coolers. Pear tomatoes were unchanged while cherry tomatoes became more savory and sweet, without a trace of acidity, as though they had been slow-cooked in a meaty stew. Sauerkraut in white wine tasted, inexplicably, like boiled potatoes. Pickled daikon tasted like jicama sweetened with pear juice. Unsweetened dried figs tasted like Fig Newtons. Balsamic vinegar tasted like a reduction of itself, malt vinegar like toast spread with honey, and kabosu juice like limeade. Tabasco sauce retained its heat but lost its acetic edge, so its flavor was like sweet, capsaicin-laced tomato juice. Bland bottled coffee got even blander, robbed of most of its bitterness and given no sweetness in return, while a dark rum Cuba Libre tasted exactly like black sugar. The infamous 99% cacao chocolate, which ordinarily is grimacingly awful, improved slightly but remained fairly unpleasant, like baker’s chocolate. More palatable results were had with 86%, 72%, and 66% cacao chocolate, the last of which came to approximate chocolate chips with its level of semi-sweetness. Confusingly, kiwi fruit actually tasted more tart except for a hint of caramel in the aftertaste. The sweetness of Branston Pickle was heightened dramatically, drawing its flavor almost into marmalade territory. Bratwurst became deliciously sweet and salty, like it had somehow secreted its own condiment. Dill pickles became sweet pickles. Goya became green beans.
There were a few things that were largely unaffected by the fruit: ginger, umeboshi, green olives, bacon, genki drinks, bananas, nuts, dried cranberries, and (strangely) limes. But even the failures were fun and interesting. If you can get your hands on these (they’re illegal to market in America, but suppliers can be found online), I highly recommend that you do so. Miracle fruit is truly a food experience like no other – and this is coming from someone who’s had sea urchin ice cream.