By N.S. Villaflor
IMAGINE a four-course dinner in one of the city’s best hotels. Now, imagine relishing every bite and sip of wine — yes, every single one — with your eyes shut the whole time. That’s the “ordeal” — if you may call it one — that a select group of media, bloggers and local personalities had to go through when Cebu City Marriott Hotel, along with Eye Society Inc., played host to Dinner in the Dark.
To call the evening as “a unique, highly sensorial dining experience” would be an understatement. And that’s because the guests, who had to wear blindfolds throughout the entire dinner, came out of the event with a renewed appreciation of their sense of sight.
It is true that being blindfolded while dining heightened all the other senses, such that one tastes, smells and hears more than the usual. The heady smokiness of succulent grilled pork and zest of marinated sweet lemongrass green mango salad. The palpable bouquet of swirling wine. The pleasant piquancy of roasted tomato soup with thryme and cheese powder.
The subtle savors of roasted herb crust salmon with lemon pea mash, roasted onion and saffron cream sauce. The robust sweetness and tang of chocolate orange cheesecake with tropical fruit salad. And throughout the entire dinner, the endless tinkle — almost musical — of fine plates and cutlery with murmurs and hushed chitchat in the background, at times drowned by giggles, eureka moments (“I taste fennel, no, thyme!”), and often prolonged “ummms” and “ooohs.”
And yet there was further appreciation of what the guests partook of when no less than Thai Executive Chef Chachpol Suaisom revealed his an expertly curated four-course dinner. Unseen earlier, each carefully plated dish was a thing of beauty: colorful, inviting, aesthetically pleasing. How the things we take for granted only become dear when they are gone.
For this reason, Eye Society’s Brand Manager Mikko Araneta and the hotel’s Director of Sales and Events Frances Alfafara reiterated how the transformative experience not only gives a renewed appreciation but a deeper understanding of the importance of one’s sense of sight. More so, they added, the event is for the benefit of the non-stock, non-profit humanitarian organization, Eye Bank Foundation of the Philippines.
With the July 29 event’s success, one thing is clear: we’ll be seeing more of Dinner in the Dark in the days to come.