After we docked in Fort Lauderdale, I flew to Cannes, France, for the annual Midem conference, the world’s largest music-industry gathering, where I’d been invited to speak. I’d boarded the cruise with a cold that no amount of vitamin popping, sinus irrigation, oil of oregano or echinacea could prevent. By the end of the cruise, my voice was gone, and my immune system was so weak that I disembarked the plane in France with a feverish flu.
Although I’d been greatly looking forward to some fabulous meals, I ended up having some just-okay ones, which sometimes ends up being the case when you’re having business meals near the convention center. I wasn’t completely sure I would have had the concentration for anything more grandiose (although I did have a killer baguette from a local boulangerie, which alone may have been worth the trip).
The stuffy cold symptoms began to recede as I walked along the seashore that afternoon, but by dinnertime, I was still dizzy and feverish. However, in this state, the strangest thing occurred: Every flavor became larger than life. Rather than dulling my senses, my illness seemed to accentuate the taste of every food that touched my tongue, to the point that it was almost unpleasant. The basil with my scallops was so pronounced that I could barely stand it. The local Côtes de Provence white tasted like herbes de Provence, but so strongly!
Normally, when I taste a wine, I have to swirl it around my mouth and search my memory for similar tastes and aromas, but not this time. The sensation of having a mouthful of fennel seeds was overwhelming. I was incredulous. Since when was more flavor a negative? Had I become a supertaster, one of those mythical figures who can taste everything more clearly, more loudly than the rest of us? Where I once proclaimed those who complained of too much flavor as wimps, I was beginning to understand their plight. Was this a good thing?
I’ll never know. The next day, as much as I tried to invoke my superpowers, the food on the airplane was as tasteless as always, and I went back to my old life of grasping for words to describe what I’ve just tasted.
Dr M Vinciguerra — Port Washington, NY — February 5, 2007 7:28pm ET
Maurice Bruce — February 24, 2007 7:03pm ET
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions