Mexico Blind Dining: Eating in the dark comes with side of charity
There's been steady rise in a dining trend over the past decade or so - centered around eating in the dark. From Switzerland - to Germany - to Canada and the US, more people seem ready to pay top dollar for this experience. CGTN's Alasdair Baverstock reports - blind dining has taken hold in Mexico City, where it also has a charitable aim.
Dinner is served. Yet the blindfolded diners will consume a four-course gourmet meal, without ever seeing what they are eating.
This is Blind Dining which sees customers eating empty forkfuls, knocking over crockery, and discerning what sort of wine they are drinking by listening to it.
GABRIELA ORTEGA BLIND DINER "It makes you concentrate far harder on flavors, in order to decipher what the food is, which we often rely on our sight alone to do."
ALASDAIR BAVERSTOCK MEXICO CITY "The idea behind Blind Dining, is that through the deprivation of sight, diners' senses of smell and taste are heightened. And when a person doesn't know what they are being served in advance, dinner becomes a sensory experience quite unlike any other."
It was established in Mexico City by sommelier Rodrigo Marquez.
RODRIGO MARQUEZ BLIND DINING MEXICO "We focus on wine pairings, with a different glass for each course - seeking the perfect match between the two. With the added particularity that you won't know what you're eating or drinking, and you're in total darkness. So you're diving your senses into aromas and textures to see what you find."
Beyond a culinary experience, the project also seeks to raise awareness for those who are truly blind- a segment of Mexican society that often feels marginalized.
ARTURO CAMPOS BLIND DINER "We so often take our sight for granted, and forget that there are people who aren't as fortunate. So it certainly makes you value what you have."
Juan Saavedra is an advocate for the blind in Mexico City, and says any effort that brings greater awareness of the disability is important.
JUAN SAAVEDRA ADVOCATE FOR THE BLIND "What we have to do is to make people with visual impairments visible. It sounds bad saying that we have to integrate them into our society, because they are already present, but so often they are simply invisible to us. So it's about breaking down these barriers, be they of fear or misunderstanding, with empathy with them as people."
While Blind Dining may be a culinary adventure in itself, its founder says a greater empathy for the visually impaired makes his events even more worthwhile. Alasdair Baverstock, CGTN, Mexico City.