Heston Blumenthal

Heston Blumenthal unveils new use for a tampon – as a palate cleanser

The palate cleanser is an integral element of many haute cuisine experiences: a sorbet, fresh herbs or a simple glass of water are just a few methods of refreshing the mouth, enlivening the tastebuds and preparing the tongue for flavours to come. Unless, of course, you are Heston Blumenthal…

In what may be the restless foodie innovator’s most extreme experiment yet, Blumenthal has taken to using a tampon to soak up the juices in his mouth.

“If you drain the moisture in your mouth you experience richness, creaminess and sweetness more intensely … and there is really nothing much more absorbent than a tampon.”

But Blumenthal is quick to confirm that tampons will not be found on the menu of the Fat Duck, his restaurant in Bray, or Dinner, in central London, any time soon.

“There is no way I am thinking of serving tampons to people in a restaurant,” he insisted, speaking from a field in north Wales where he is filming a new television series, Heston’s Fantastical Food. “It’s about understanding more about how we perceive taste and flavour.”

Blumenthal is not taking credit for the innovation, which he was introduced to at a food research centre in Wageningen, the Netherlands, by oral physiologist, Don Prince.

“Don is the equivalent of me in the physiology department: he’s brilliant but barking mad and although I think he surpassed himself this time, it was not uncharacteristic.”

Before long the pair were “playing around with different tampons”, he explained. “You sit there and it grows and sucks the moisture out and just gets quite wet, swollen and woolly. Although it is quite funny sitting there with the little string coming out of your mouth.”

The impact on the tastebuds is immediate: “If you have a spoonful of ice-cream then put a tampon on the tongue for a couple of minutes, when you eat the ice-cream again the taste will be richer. It’s certainly not something I would do for culinary enjoyment purposes, but it’s an interesting way to explore the taste receptors in our mouth.”

Source: The Guardian