Think you’re brave enough to stroll through the food halls at Selfridges, Fortnum and Mason or Harvey Nichols? Think again, says Tooba Masood.
ou may be there to try out some of the world’s finest delicacies, but you’ll be surprised at what’s lurking on some of the less visited shelves.
Any great drink has a sting in the tail, but Edible’s scorpion vodka takes the task more seriously than most. The drink is spiked with a real farm-raised scorpion, which is left to infuse in the vodka for three months following a special detox diet. It is rather unconventional but the decomposing arthropod adds a soft, woody taste to the vodka and, somewhat counterintuitively, smoothes off its sharp edge. Natasha, a sales assistant at Selfridges, said: “It is best served neat but also tastes good with simple mixers such as tonic.” £22.50, Selfridges
salt. This unusual condiment has a strong smoky flavour and is used in south Mexico as a salsa and guacamole seasoning, though if you want to be really authentic, the best way to try it is with a measure of tequila and slice of fresh lemon. £7.99
Civet coffee beans
If you’re in need of a pick-me-up, you might be interested in rare civet coffee beans. The palm civet cat roams Sumatran coffee plantations at night picking and eating the ripest fruit; once it has passed through the animal’s digestive system, the resulting ‘kopi luwak’ is considered to be the world’s finest coffee. It has an intense flavour, but unlike other coffees, no aftertaste and only 5,000kg of the stuff is found each year.
At Selfridges you can buy gin infused with earthworms. Yes. Earthworms
Vodka-flavoured scorpion lollipop Our editor Anthony Cuthbertson tried the vodka flavoured scorpion lollipop. He said: “The lolly didn’t taste like vodka, more like stale toffee. The scorpion’s claws and limbs were like chewing toe nails, while its body was chewy and powdery.”
Not exactly a rave review… If you’re worried about the safety of eating creepy crawlies, then worry no more because on 13 May, the UN released a 200page report which stated that it is perfectly OK to eat insects. The Food and Agriculture Organisation claimed that creepy crawlies are an underutilised food source for humans, livestock and pets. It added that two billion people already supplement their diets with insects, which have the added benefits of being full of protein and minerals.
If you like the sound of scorpion vodka but can’t quite stretch the budget far enough cover a bottle, you can always try a tiny scorpion encased in a vodka flavoured lollipop. The candy also comes in toffee flavour, just in case you know any minors who are also into eating scorpion. Or you can just have the scorpion covered in rich dark chocolate. £5.19, Selfridges
Next to the vodka and scorpions, you’ll find English gin infused with an edible earthworm. Yes. An earthworm. These slimy critters are farmed in the south of England and, according to the manufacturer, are highly nutritious and add a unique flavour to the gin. You can even eat the worm once you’re done with the drink (though why you would want to do that exactly is a question worth contemplating). £26.99, Selfridges.
‘Worm salt’ consists of ground worm powder mixed with chilli flakes and common rock
Monkey picked tea
If you’re more of a tea drinker, then you can try a rare Chinese leaf picked by trained monkeys in the mountains. According to legend, centuries ago monkeys used to collect tea for their masters as a sign of affection and any animal that does the job is treated as a member of their human family. Although the tradition of training monkeys to pick tea is dying, there is still one small village in China where they continue the practice. £14.99, Harvey Nichols
Pearl powder and lollipops
If your stomach (or your head) can’t handle the thought of eating worms and scorpions, you might enjoy pearl lollipops instead. Made from fine pearls, sugar and vanilla, these Japanese treats are considered to be an aphrodisiac, with pearls taking a central role in child-bearing rituals. The powder can be sprinkled into champagne or white wine to give it a pearly iridescence, and is also reputedly good for anti-aging. pearl lollipops,£4, pearl powder, £9.49, Selfridges
Published on Jun 21, 2013
Published on Jun 21, 2013
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