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Need help with tasting contest idea....

Hi there,

Not sure if this is the right category, so please move it to wherever it fits best.

My husband is giving me a birthday party next week and we're wanting to have some fun and different games to play. A couple of the people coming are blind and we didn't want everything to be visually oriented. So, naturally, food came to mind, and I thought about doing a tasting game. I was thinking of having maybe 10 little Dixie cups per person, with a different food or drink item in each one. I want some of them to be a bit difficult so that not everyone will guess correctly. I would LOVE suggestions for what to put in the cups!!! Most of the people coming AREN'T chowhounds or foodies, but I still think they'll enjoy the game.

Thanks in advance for your ideas...

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  1. Did you happen to see that episode of Top Chef where they did that? I think the top person only got 4 out of 25, or something like that! Then, when they got home, they did a spoof of that, but used junk food for the tasting... the trophy for the winner was a Pork and Beans can trophy! I'll start thinking about what to use... I think the ones they used on Top Chef would be too difficult for non-foodies!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Katie Nell

      Yes! It was Top Chef and Hell's Kitchen that gave me the idea, but I'd totally forgotten about the junk food contest. I'll have to incorporate some of those kinds of food into the contest for sure. Looking forward to hearing your ideas!!!!

    2. This is kind of on the simple side but I seem to recall that someone once did a jello test. They made all of the different flavors....but did not add any coloring so all of the samples were clear. Apparently, people thought the test was going to be easy but without the coloring, many got the flavors wrong.

      I like the idea of a junkfood test or childhood classic foods test. There are many foods I ate as a child that I no longer eat. I wonder if I would immediately recognize them?

      1. Have yourself a little Fear Factor fun. Just kidding. Don't go putting any bull pissel in any dixie cups. On a more serious note, be sensitive to your guests tastes. Avoid hot and spicy foods (as tempting as that might be). Some people are very sensitive to the heat. Look for foods with texture and with layered flavors. I see no harm in including one or two foods that someone might find repulsive, like sweetbreads, or oysters, or goats milk. Matter of fact, my guess is you'll have people asking for recipes or store locations by the end of the night because you will have converted them. You will have gotten your guests to try foods they would have otherwise shyed away from. Then again, this can also reconfirm ones dislike for something as well, be assured.

        I'm tempted to suggest seafood, but I now realize that some might be allergic. It would be great to witness people experiencing a raw clam (or oyster) on their tongue for the first time while blindfolded. Sweets are a good suggestion. Honey covered Greek desserts could wow them with taste and texture. Perhaps an exotic fruit. A piece of a grilled meat to accompany that exotic fruit would work well. You can listen to your guests say "What is that?", because of the contrasting or layered flavors. It should be fun whatever you decide. Be sure to let us know how things turn out. I'll let some others chime in with their suggestions. :)

        1 Reply
        1. re: Cheese Boy

          Yes, but you don't want gagging (or worse) either! I could see a lot of people gagging on raw oysters!

        2. I like cheese boy's way of thinking in terms of layering and texture but post reminded me that you need to ask about any food allergies beforehand. You don't need someone's throat closing thanks to peanuts.

          The other part about the fruit and the meat...we have this local restaurant that makes a date wrapped in bacon fritter...AMAZING but I have yet to try to duplicate at home.

          On the dessert side, the local dimsum bars here have this wonderful steamed warm tofu dessert with a ginger syrup....I would think you could duplicate something similar. Also, one of my personal favorite desserts....fresh cut strawberries, cracked pepper, and balsamic vinegar! Then there is the deep fried Snickers route.....

          One more thing, if you are near any ethnic grocery stores, they have fun and unusual snacks and drinks that could be challenging to identify.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rHairing

            Lychee jellies!! :-) The texture would weird them out until they actually tasted them.

          2. Your ideas are great...keep them coming! Excellent to ask about allergies first.

            I'm starting to think of having Level 1 and Level 2...everyone does Level 1 which is one thing per cup...leaning towards junk food, sodas, etc. but will also throw in a *smoked* (not raw!) oyster to make it interesting. Those with the highest scores then move on to Level 2 where there will be a mixture of 2 things in the cup. I like the strawberry & balsamic idea. I was also thinking it might be fun to have some dark chocolate and have people guess what percentage it is. There are a few chocophiles in the crowd. :)

            More ideas, please!!! (Think specifics...if YOU were doing this, what 10-ish things would you put in the Level 1 cups? And what things would go in Level 2?)

            1 Reply
            1. re: wyf4lyf

              Here are some ideas...
              Level 1
              I'm thinking some weird textures and some comparisons...
              1. cheez wiz, or however you spell it... blech! but I bet some people won't know what it is!
              2. cotton candy
              3. you could do a taste test between two beers... Natural Light or something awful vs.
              4. a good beer (don't know what this would be, since I don't like beer!)
              5. see if people can tell the difference between Oreos vs.
              6. Hydrox! (My daddy would know!)
              7. Mr. Pibb vs.
              8. Dr. Pepper (or Pepsi vs. Coke, etc.)
              9. marshmallow fluff
              10. some kind of really processed food... cheetohs, pizza rolls, or Pop Tarts... something along that line!

              Level 2
              1. fennel
              2. cilantro
              3. jicama
              4. pork belly
              5. Sriracha
              6. I think the balsamic and strawberries would be a good idea!
              7. basil ice cream (I'm obsessed with the idea now! Actually, different herbs in ice creams would be a fun taste test... lavendar, thyme, etc.!)
              8. cocoa nibs
              9. some kind of cheese would be challenging, I think
              10. lobster

              I hope you report back! And take pictures of people and their faces!!