Flavour Tripping with Miraculin – Renée Reports

Earlier today I hosted a quite interesting afternoon tea with some friends at work. I’d purchased some miraculin tablets, and a few assorted foodthings to try ‘flavour tripping’. Miraculin is a protein found in the fruit of the Synsepalum dulcificum plant, native to West Africa. When a miraculin tablet is dissolved in the mouth, the protein binds to your taste buds and changes your perception of flavours. The remarkable effect of this is that sour or bitter tastes are changed to taste sweet.

2014-04-07 17.16.45

The tablets themselves are pretty nothing, with a flavour I would describe as ‘cardboard fruit tingles’. You have to be sure to roll the tablet very well around your tongue, and coat it all over or you’ll find there are parts where your tastebuds can still detect sour flavours. The foods we tried this afternoon included;

  • Lemons and limes: in a word, delicious. Especially the limes. It’s a delight to sink your teeth into a wedge of lime and have the taste of sweet citrus fill your mouth, no puckering or squinting required!
  • Salt and vinegar chips: unusual, the acidity of the vinegar is completely muted and there is a dull sweetness present, but the chips still tasted overall like a savoury snack. Ordinarily I find salt and vinegar chips revolting, but I could’ve easily eaten the packet on miraculin.
  • Natural yoghurt: as expected, the sour flavour of natural yoghurt was modified so it tastes just like a sweetened yoghurt. Very pleasant.
  • Sharp cheddar: the sharpness of the vintage cheddar was muted, so that the cheese tasted like a colby or other mild firm cheese.
  • Goats cheese: very close in flavour to cream cheese icing commonly found on carrot cake. Easily could’ve eaten the whole lot.
  • Vegemite: pretty gross, vegemitey but somehow sickly as well. Do not recommend.
  • Tabasco: the hottest sweet chilli sauce I’ve ever tried.
  • Vinegar: I read somewhere that on miraculin vinegar would taste like apple juice… HELL NO. Look, it’s drinkable but it’s still vinegar really. Drinkable vinegar. Yum…
  • Guinness: I also read that Guinness was going to taste like chocolate. It did not. It’s interesting that the bitterness of the beer is completely gone, but the chocolate I was hoping for was sorely lacking and it was not really very nice at all.

2014-04-07 17.15.45

After trying these, a few other items I’d be interested in sampling;

  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Wasabi
  • Mustard
  • Rocket, endive or other bitter leaf vegetable

If you are curious about trying Miraculin I’d definitely recommend giving it a go. At $2-3 bucks a pop, the tablets aren’t cheap, but it’s worth it because it’s a lot of fun and really messes with your perception of some foods. We found the effects of the Miraculin tablets lasted about 30-40 minutes. I still have a couple of tablets left, so if you have any suggestions for other things that could be fun to try, hit me up.

2 Comments on “Flavour Tripping with Miraculin – Renée Reports”

  1. I suspect that there are more than a few Americans who might argue that vegemite is “pretty gross” under all circumstances. 🙂

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