Dark Dining – What is it? And, Why is it Becoming So Trendy
Dark dining, it's exactly what you think it might be. In fact, you might have done it already. Okay, for most of us our dining in the dark moments are usually compliments of a hurricane or some other severe weather event or maybe a squirrel in a substation. But dark dining is just that, it's eating in the dark but as you might imagine there is a little more to it than feeling around the table for your silverware.
The concept of dark dining is based on the thought that when we remove one of our senses our other senses become heightened. In this case, removing the ability to see the meal placed before us will give our senses of taste and smell a chance to define and discover unique attributes of the food that has been prepared.
Dark dining as a concept is not brand new. The first dark dining experiences were reported to have started in Paris in 1999. There was even a restaurant opened at that time that offered only dark dining. Customers donned blindfolds as they experienced their meal. Many of them reported greater enjoyment of the food, its taste, its scent, and its texture when surveyed after the dark dining experience.
In Las Vegas, there is a restaurant called BLACKOUT and as you might imagine, they don't pay a lot every month for their light bill. In fact, guests are led to their tables in total darkness. All light-emitting objects such as telephones, watches, and glow sticks have to be placed in a locker before guests can be seated. They are then treated to a multi-course meal in total darkness.
To accommodate for a diner's inability to see what is on their plate, the kitchen staff will usually prepare meals in bite-sized portions. Think about it, do you really want someone to attempt to cut a steak with a sharp knife in total darkness? Many dark dining restaurants offer set menus because of the extra preparation necessary for meals served in darkness.
Yes, there are places in Louisiana that have a dark dining night as part of their regular schedule.
While the concept of "experience dining" is not new, experiences like dark dining are currently the rage. Restauranteurs are finding that particularly with younger consumers, the concept of just "going to eat out" isn't as appealing as take-out or delivery. So, they're coming up with new ways to entice those diners to come out for a night on the town.
I really do believe that you will be hearing more and more about this kind of food experience and personally, I think this kind of idea would make for a wonderful fundraising idea for a local charity. Since a lot of Louisiana cooking has the caveat of "don't ask what's in it, just eat it" I think the dark dining concept would work wonderfully well. Especially if it was in an air-conditioned restaurant and not outside in August and in the dark because of a hurricane.
You know around here they say "we eat with our eyes" I wonder is that's just one of those "myths" about Louisiana that everybody seems to believe.
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