Stockholm: Dining in the dark at Svartklubben

3 04 2014

On Friday, we spend 3 hours in complete darkness, enjoying delicious food and live music. I have to admit, this is the weirdest experience in recent memory. We arrived at Svartklubben around 6:30 pm and soon we were seated at our table. Of course, we had to slowly walk to our designated seats, feeling our way around… enough space not to touch anyone in an inappropriate manner, but holding hands to not get lost. One feels intimately closer to people in the dark!

The food was delicious and eating it was an eerie experience. First I had to become familiar with what I had on the table. Where was the wine glass, how many forks and knifes where available, where was my bottle of water, what if I cut or stab myself, break something?… which one of us did, and so on. After I finished with the table and the tools of the craft, I started slowly reaching out around me. I had trustworthy friends to both my left and right and Robert in front of me, who is trustworthy by his association with Mari-Anna. However, I have no idea who sat at my back. If I reached out a little bit I could touch their chairs and coats… Their laughter through the evening was oddly comforting.

We started with a chèvre salad with beet root, we continued with corn-fed chicken with oven tomato and crumbled polenta, and for dessert we had a tarte Tatin. Our wine of choice was Shiraz, but as it was dark, of course I have no idea which year and who produced it. There was also a choice of white wine and other drinks but I always go for red.

I wish I could say that my other senses were heightened but honestly I don’t think that was the true purpose of the evening. I could not see. However, it did not feel frustrating. Knowing that you will join the light again at the end does help with the experience I suppose. I did get frustrated twice and for the silliest reasons. First of all, I could not create my “perfect bite”. Much like Barbra Streisand in The Mirror Has Two Faces, I like to create the perfect bite combining small pieces of everything I have on my plate. When you eat in the dark, you kind of start with what you find first, and then try to feel your way around the plate. I cut the chunks too big or too small, and a few times I even discovered my fork was empty. Of course, you can lick your fingers at the end and nobody will know 😀

The second eerie thing that I experienced was the feeling that somehow I could see something. The shape of my hand, some sort if light reflected in my wineglass… of course, all a figment of my imagination. It really was pitch black darkness, complete complete darkness. We didn’t have a notion of time and when at the end we were asked how much time we believed had passed, I said out loud and with conviction: maximum 2 hours. It was 9:30 pm and we were there for 3 hours. Along with my sight, I also lost my sense of time and for a moment this was really scary. How can some people live like this? But these wonderful people do, and they do it gracefully, with dignity and purpose. They live full, happy lives, they are self reliable and, by sharing this experience with complete strangers, they create an awareness we all need!

Finally, it was there, in my face. I could see it clearly because of the pitch black darkness: I take so many things for granted, I never actually stop for a minute to be truly grateful for what I have, for being healthy and in command of all my senses. It’s not wrong to want to constantly evolve and accomplish more, but acknowledging what you have opens a world of possibilities. This year, although I don’t believe in resolutions, I will practice being grateful and complain less!

During the dinner we were also entertained… and in the best way possible. Ulf and his band sang really good music. Most of it in Swedish I think, but they also filled the time with stories, jokes and explanations in English. The guests sang along and I have to say it was great… I could actually let go and pretend I can sing for a while… of course having an untrained opera singer in our midst was an added bonus 🙂

If you go to Stockholm, do not miss Svartklubben! Thank you Ulf and the gang for hosting us and making this evening the highlight of my year so far!

Me happy 🙂

 

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Before the dinner 🙂 It was pretty light outside…

 

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The chèvre salad 🙂

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Corn-fed chicken with oven tomato and crumbled polenta

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Tarte Tatin

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And then we said Goodbye… Full and happy 😀

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