JACKSONVILLE, Fla — I've read about Dark Dining online and even have seen stories about it on Food Network. Simply defined by Wikipedia: "Dark dining takes place in a dark restaurant, where the customers do not see the food they are eating. The basic concept is that the removal of vision enhances the other senses and increases gastronomic pleasure."

This has always intrigued me. So much of what you hear about food is that we eat with our eyes. I have always wanted that experience. Last November I got my chance.

Legacy Ale Works and Craft Cuisine's Chef Sarah Copeland decided to bring this experience to Jacksonville. The menu was not posted. The windows in the brewery were covered and the only light was a single black-light to assist servers. Patrons were offered masks to completely eliminate their vision.

I opted for a mask.

My table consisted of very experienced local beer and food bloggers. As we started to eat, everyone was trying to guess the food and beers that were in front of us. In the case of those of us with masks, that included trying to gracefully put food on our forks and into our mouths.  I would suggest you not wear dry-clean only clothing!  

After a few attempts, we started using our hands.  There was an incident involving a carrot that I would rather not remember!

Infrared photo from dining in the dark
The only photo available from the event is this night vision camera shot from Legacy Ale Works.
Legacy Ale Works

Some foods were very identifiable, like scallops, but the line blurred when it came to distinguishing pork from beef, or sauces.  We noticed subtlety that I don't think we would have noticed in a regular dining experience. It was easier guessing the beer, at least the beer style.

Overall, it was a blast! We all laughed at the end of the evening when the food and beer was revealed. Especially at how badly we had guessed. 

 The event was so well received that Craft and Legacy Ale Works have put together a second Dining in the Dark event on Tuesday, Feb. 25.

The lights go out at 7 p.m. and go back on again at 9 p.m. If you have any food allergies reach out to them, they'll let you know if you are safe to eat. 

Tickets are on sale now, get yours here.

If you are looking for more 'hands-on' experiences, Legacy is starting a Cooking Series in March.  It will be a cooking class and beer pairing dinner.  First up, Italian Pasta on March 5.

Bon Appetit y'all!