British experimental chef Heston Blumenthal has adopted an unorthodox method for cleansing his palate, he revealed on Saturday -- sucking on tampons.
Blumenthal, famed for serving up dishes such as snail porridge and worm pizza, told the Guardian that the high absorbency of tampons makes them perfect for soaking up juices in the mouth between flavours.
"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," he said.
But he stressed that his three-Michelin-starred restaurant, the Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire, will not be handing out tampons to diners -- and neither will "Dinner", his London restaurant which opened last year.
"There is no way I am thinking of serving tampons to people in a restaurant," the 46-year-old said, speaking from a field in north Wales where he is filming his new television series "Heston's Fantastical Food".
Blumenthal was introduced to the tampon-sucking technique in a Dutch lab by British food scientist Jon Prinz.
Before long the pair were "playing around with different tampons", Blumenthal said.
"You sit there and it grows and sucks the moisture out and just gets quite wet, swollen and woolly. Although it is quite funny sitting there with the little string coming out of your mouth."
The absorbent cotton has a highly noticeable effect on the tastebuds, the chef said.
"If you have a spoonful of ice-cream then put a tampon on the tongue for a couple of minutes, when you eat the ice-cream again the taste will be richer."
He added: "It's certainly not something I would do for culinary enjoyment purposes, but it's an interesting way to explore the taste receptors in our mouth."