Does color matter? Certainly. If you associate a color with a flavor or even an experience or aroma then when the color remains consistent and the flavor is different you pay attention. The mind wakes up. I went to the store with plans of buying honeydew and cantaloupe melons for a dish. I believed the two singular flavors and their equally striking colors would allow for a simple arrangement of taste experiences centered on the juicy and floral melons. Unfortunately, I did not pay close attention to all of the details when buying the melons. I checked for ripeness and signs of bruising as I selected the fruits. What I failed to notice was a small sticker on the honeydew which stated that it had orange flesh. When I cut into the melons the surprise was on me. What was even more striking was that the orange fleshed honeydew melon tasted exactly like a green honeydew melon. The cantaloupe was also orange and tasted of cantaloupe. I wondered what would happen if we served two pieces of melon, which looked identical and tasted strikingly different. We were not going to alter the fruit, save for a bit of vacuum compression and simply some mint, salt and pepper. I wanted the fruit to be seasoned yet still be the essence of itself.
In eating the melons the contrast is truly startling. If your start with the cantaloupe, you are quickly lulled to into believing the next bite will be cantaloupe. The flavor of the honeydew in the second bite shakes the mind and palate back to attention, as if to say, wake up and taste your food. On the other hand, if you start with the orange honeydew you are forced to ask a question about what you're eating. The second bite is taken with a cautious approach as you analyze flavor and texture. In fact, since the second bite is now cantaloupe the mind and palate are jostled to further attention and forced to deal with a slightly confusing situation. Were they actually different melons or were they the same?
Could we try this with gold beets and pineapple? What about compressed watermelon and tuna? Even mozzarella and tofu might produce exciting responses.