SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) -Sweet might not be how you would describe a menu of raw onions and vinegar shots, but that’s how it could taste this weekend if you try the miracle berry at the center of a fun event at Congregation Mickve Israel.
“A lot of new foods I would not even dare to try,” said Rabbi Robert Haas. “Because you’re a picky eater. I am a picky eater, I have a lot of food allergies and other issues, mostly emotional.”
Congregation Mickve Israel will host a taste-tripping fundraiser Sunday, an event featuring the West African Miracle Berry and several of the harsh, acidic foods whose flavors are changed by it.
“The active ingredient reacts with the taste buds in the mouth, so everything you eat afterwards tastes sweet,” said Lauren Denton, chairperson of the event.
“My wife and I looked at some videos on Youtube and it seems pretty amazing,” said Rabbi Haas.
“So, all of these things that you would usually think, ‘oh horseradish is awful’, it’s actually sweet, like a relish,” Denton says.
An admitted skeptic, Rabbi Robert Haas decided to test the berry and its taste-altering effect before the event. He paired it with vinegar, garlic, and raw onion.
“L’chaim,” he said. “It actually does taste like apple juice. That’s nice.”
Sunday's event is a celebration of Tu Bishvat, a Jewish holiday that is described as Jewish Earth Day.
“It’s become that through the years,” says Rabbi Haas. “It’s basically a day in which we thank God for all the fruits and all the trees. And it’s also become much more of an environmentally friendly holiday when we ask ourselves what can we do to make the environment better. Also, we’re going to be having a seder, so there’ll be a religious aspect to it as well as we thank God for everything we have. But mostly, it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
And it will be an opportunity to take food in a way you might not have before.
“We really want to bring a different crowd to our fundraisers and this is something that is going to get everybody talking because I imagine some people will like the food, some people won’t, some people will taste it differently,” the Rabbi said. "It’s pretty simple. If I’m doing it, pretty much anybody can do it, because I have the biggest food issues of anybody.