Dining in the dark is a concept is based on the fact that, when guests dine without seeing their food, their sensory awareness is heightened and they can distinguish a broader range of flavors. When the lights are on, visual cues dominate the dining experience and many sensory nuances are missed. Dining in the dark creates an opportunity to really experience the taste, texture and scent of each dish that is served.
Dining in the Dark has another important level. It originated in Zurich when Jorge Speilman, a visually challenged pastor, provided blindfolds so that his guests could experience dining the same way he did.
Visually impaired servers guide the experience. After an hour or two of dining in total darkness, diners become much more aware of the challenges that individuals who are visually impaired face daily.
Here are a few of the places where dining in the dark is available.
Blindekuh Zurich (Switzerland)
This is where it all started in 1999. Blindekuh (translated Blind Cow) is a Swiss children's game, the equivalent of Blind Man's Bluff. Today the menu changes weekly as fresh, local ingredients are used. Groups can book Culture in the Dark. A 3-course meal is served while entertainers with visual challenges offer musical, theatrical or comedic performances.
Dine in the Dark (Dubai)
Always on the cusp of what's hot, it's not surprising that Dine in the Dark has arrived in Dubai. It's available at Nineteen at The Address Montgomerie Dubai.
Dining in the Dark KL (Malaysia)
Based in Kuala Lumpur, Dining in the Dark KL brings this unique experience to South East Asia. The experience aims to bypass the optic nerve and allow other senses to savor the dishes The venue with a capacity of 50 uses surprise menus to amp up the experience. The visually impaired servers are called "Darkness Experts" as, during the course of the meal, they pass on the life skills that they use daily.
Opaque - Dark Dining (U.S.)
With locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, New York and San Diego, Opaque - Dark Dining aims to create a relaxing multi-sensory environment that provides diners with relief in an era of information and visual overload.
Guests make their menu selections in the lounge before they are guided to the dining area which is pitch black. Groups of 40 - 90 (depending on location) can share this unique experience. With its mobile service, dark dining can also be set up at other event venues.
In 2009, O.Noir brought dining in the dark to Canada through its locations in Toronto and Montreal. Private dining is available for groups of 15 - 120. At the Montreal location, entertainment is provided by a group of blind musicians called "Les Ombres" (translation: The Shadows).
Cvent Event Blog regularly features unique options for group dining.
Photo Credits: Villain Media, LLC.