The palate cleanser is an integral element of many haute cuisine experiences: a sorbet, fresh herbs or a simple glass of water are just a few methods of refreshing the mouth, enlivening the tastebuds and preparing the tongue for flavours to come.
Unless, of course, you are Heston Blumenthal. In what may be the restless innovator's most extreme experiment yet, Blumenthal has taken to using a tampon to soak up the juices in his mouth.
"If you drain the moisture in your mouth you experience richness, creaminess and sweetness more intensely ... and there is really nothing much more absorbent than a tampon."
But Blumenthal disciples may be disappointed to hear that yoghurt with tampons – the chef's current lunch of choice according to his food diary in today's Weekend magazine – will not be found on the menu of the Fat Duck, his restaurant in Bray, or Dinner, in central London, any time soon.
"There is no way I am thinking of serving tampons to people in a restaurant," he insisted, speaking from a field in north Wales where he is filming a new television series, Heston's Fantastical Food. "It's about understanding more about how we perceive taste and flavour."
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