Mill Street Chocolate’s latest outing was to this temporary exhibition at Tate Britain recently - I was as excited as a puppy!
I admit the main pull for me was that I knew Paul had been involved and that the experience included his chocolate in some form or other!
This prize-winning exhibition features four artworks from the permanent exhibition at the Tate. Organisers worked with experts in their fields to select and devise complementary smells, sounds, feelings and tastes to work alongside visitors’ viewing of each work. So far, so exciting!
I queued for an hour to ensure laying my hands on one of the FREE tickets to this 20 minute experience so, by the time I came to enter through the magic door to this ‘sense wonderland’ anticipations were running high.
To me, by far the most interesting of the four ‘rooms’ was the final one displaying Francis Bacon’s ‘Figure in a Landscape’ – this included the long-awaited chocolate experience! A hollow chocolate shell filled with a mixture of edible charcoal, cacao nibs, salt, Lapsand Suchong tea this probably rates as one of the most unusual, compelling and exciting taste experiences of my life thus far.
That said, I’m not saying I’d necessarily want to eat it again. It was fascinating - a real journey of discovery. The following day I could still sense the experience of that dusty, gritty, smoky, salty, earthy, almost muskiness. It was profound. But I didn’t ‘like’ it as such. It won’t be on my Christmas list – “a delicious box of those dusty charcoal chocolates please”.
…………………….but I don’t believe for one minute that was the point. I found myself torn between wanting to spit it out because it somehow didn’t ‘taste edible’, to moving it around in my mouth increasingly fascinated by the unusual flavour combinations, and the revolutionary textures. It was a deeply memorable chocolate.
However, I am sad to say that the rest of the exhibition left me cold – somehow reminiscent of a visit to the dentist. Now, we are only talking a check-up here, not root canal work, but basically the feeling that I’d been subjected to someone ‘messing’ with my senses – artificial smells; harsh, often over-loud noises; shapes being ‘blown’ unexpectedly onto the palm of my hand by a machine. All vaguely unpleasant and uncomfortable.
But that chocolate! I would recommend you go just for that. Rush there – run! It’s on till 20th September. Get there an hour before to start queueing or you won’t get a ticket.
Happy chocolate dreams