Synsepalum dulcificum is an innocuous red berry that, in and of itself, tastes like something you might feed to the birds. It has a mildly sweet, firm pulp that surrounds a bitter seed – like a less flavoursome cranberry. You might think that the less than impressive taste might mean that nobody wants to eat them, but you’d be wrong.
This berry is a miracle berry. Its active ingredient, known as “miraculin” is a protein that binds to the taste buds of its ingestor and acts as a sweetness inducer when it comes into contact with acids. Limes become candied, vinegar resembles apple juice and goats cheese tastes just like cheesecake.
Franz Aliquo has been holding so-called “flavour tripping” events for some time now, inviting guests to chew on one of these mysterious berries before trying, amongst other things, tabasco sauce, (tastes just like doughnut glaze), lemon sorbet and Guinness, (chocolate shake), and oysters, (chewing gum).
The Western world has known about this miraculous African berry since the 18th century but, after being turned down as a sugar substitute in the 1970s and owing to its extreme rarity, it has developed only a small cult following.
Each berry goes for about $2.50 each and, although our American friends can order a freezer pack of 30 for $90 from www.miraclefruitman.com, I wonder if they’re available in this country? It would sure be an interesting experiment…
Source: New York Times