On August 2017, we descended upon the desert of Black Rock City after our incredible experience at Oregon Eclipse. For our first trip to Burning Man, we joined The Phage Camp to celebrate art, music, and radical self-reliance. Visitors sampled from our menu of edible demonstrations that ‘trick’ their senses and reveal the multisensory nature of flavor perception.

For 2017’s theme of “Radical Ritual,” we brought a new and improved version of a classic Guerilla Science experience, Flavor Feast. We took the daily ritual of eating and magnified it into a sensory smorgasbord to confound our sense of taste with colors, aromas, and sound.

Flavor Feast is a pop-up party for the senses. From inside our giant pink booth, we served up interactive experiences with scientists designed to give guests a journey through the under-appreciated nuances of “taste.” Each round demonstrated what scientific research has uncovered about flavor: that it is not as simple as we expect. 

Donning our signature pink aprons and hosting the feast were scientists from The Phage, a large camp from the science-themed village, The Institute. Joining forces with Phage gave us new ways to bring scientists to a fun, casual way for scientists to initiate conversations with the passing crowds.

The hunger for Flavor Feast was insatiable on the playa. The near-constant flow of visitors kept up until we ran out of supplies on our last day. Throughout the week we dispensed our blend of science conversations with gallons of mystery fruit juices, hundreds of perfumed flavor nuggets, and decadent morsels of dark chocolate and coffee — each paired with a visual, aromatic, or audible accompaniment to enhance and deceive expectations. With the help of mBerry miracle berry tablets, we gave our guests a final, tongue-altering course and sent them out to explore the rest of Burning Man with a new way to taste as well as think about our daily mealtime rituals.