What Happens When You Eat in Complete Darkness? Exploring the Unique Concept of Dans Le Noir
Are you a sucker for unique gourmet experiences? Then here is a dining adventure you must add to your bucket list. We always say dining is a visual experience, but dinner in complete darkness is what the restaurant in Paris offers. Ranked among the ten most original restaurants in the world, Dans Le Noir is a unique sensory and human adventure that will mark the spirit.
“Dans le noir” translates to “in the dark.” Guests are served food in total darkness, a blind dining tradition where customers can’t see a thing. The confused clinking of cutlery, buzzing conversations, constant guesses on what one is eating, and a joke or two on the magnificent view are usual here.
How does it feel to dine in the dark?
Poke your cheek with a fork, spill some wine, wiggle your fingers, prick your nose, gesture wild like a hooligan, sit with your knees curled up, dive into the dessert and soup simultaneously, and drop some cheese in the sparkling water – every social faux pax is forgiven while dining in the dark!
Dining in the dark is a culinary journey into unexplored territories. When the sense of sight is stripped off, it immediately elevates the other four senses of the body. You experience what’s on your plate through the senses of touch, smell, sound, and taste.
The inspiration behind dining in the dark…
The Avignon Festival, the oldest annual arts festival held in the French city, focused on the theme Noir (Dark) in its 1993 season, which included various acts centered on exploring light and darkness. Dining in the dark was a significant element of the event Dialogue in the Dark that became insanely popular and an instant success.
Leveraging all the newly gained attention post-Noir, Michel Reilhac, the backbone of the event, opened a full-fledged Parisian dark restaurant named Le Gout Du Noir ( A Taste of Darkness) in 1999. About a decade later, in 2004, French businessman Edouard de Broglie launched Dans Le Noir in Paris. Co-funded by the Paul Guinot Foundation for Blind People, the restaurant is staffed entirely by the visually impaired. It was the first dine-in-the-dark chain, with outlets in London, Auckland, Madrid, Barcelona, Nice, Nantes, and Saint Petersburg. The concept took off here and is now one of the experimental favorites amongst all culinary enthusiasts.
What makes Dans Le Noir in Paris special?
Everything is pitch black as you navigate this mystery zone, which tests your guessing capabilities. The staff at the restaurant assists the customers right from the moment they enter the premises until the second they leave. You have to physically touch and use your senses to communicate with others and dine here. French cuisine predominantly inspires the starters, appetizers, desserts, and wine selections, yet diners have little knowledge of their meal or what is happening in their surroundings. Visitors are seated by a waiter-guide and given hints on how to avoid spilling, such as “putting a finger inside your wineglass,” but beyond this, diners are on their own. Diners call their server by literally calling out for them. You have no idea where your fellow diners are sitting, how many are at the table, or how big the room is.
Noir has also invested in La Ferme de l’Envol, a big agroecological farm. The menus are seasonal. Apart from this, vegetarian and vegan menus are also available. The ingredients used are high quality, organic, low carbon, locally sourced, eco-friendly, and sustainable. The biological waste is recycled. There is a surprise menu to give the diners the additional excitement of trying to guess what exactly they are eating. This is where the Dans Le Noir experience leaves something to be desired. Whether this is due to the diner’s inability to see the food or the chef’s inability to make something that tastes good, even in the dark, is debatable. Judging from most reviews, whether this is a good thing or not is unclear.
Dans Le Noir is so much more than just a simple dine-in restaurant.
Explore the Sensory Lounge: It includes treasures of a palate, perfumes in the dark, and wine spirits. Taste the conviviality of aperitifs. It’s ultimately fun to understand the mysteries of perfume with its evocative power. Revive your memories and imagination to discover the perfume families. Blind tasting in pitch darkness challenges the wine culture with an original and multi-sensory approach combining taste and smell.
Play the Escape Game: Embark on the black world in one hour of ultimate darkness. An extra-terrestrial black world planet. The best game designers design the game in association with sensory experts. Anybody above the age of eight is eligible to play the game. Four to six players are in a group, with one to three groups playing at a time. The game can work as a great team-building activity for employees, at a birthday or bacherlorette party. The game involves a special game master and a perilous challenge. An exploratory mission out of your comfort zone!
Individuals always come out of the room with delight and ecstasy after the experience. They are utterly grateful and happy for their gift of sight because, as wonderful as it may sound, dining in the dark is not easy. This multisensory experience transports us to the world of visually handicapped and blind people for a while, leading us on an unparalleled pitch-dark adventure.
A 100-Year-Old, Fat Crocodile from Bangladesh Died Due to Overeating!
Mysterious Metal Ball on Japan’s Pacific Shoreline Baffles Locals