Food trends show 'weirdness is in'
The UK's eating trends are turning away from the traditional and embracing the outright weird, according to an annual "cool" list by a leading food magazine.
Vegetables masquerading as dessert and an obsession with mould have both made the top 10 trends for 2013 as identified by Olive magazine.
Also making the list is the trend of chefs presenting their food on building materials such as bricks and tiles, an update on the slate now commonly seen in gastro-pubs across the land, the magazine said.
Chef Ben Spalding's 'lick a brick' stunt during his recent stint at Islington's John Salt involved customers licking chicken mousse and caramel from a London brick, while those eating at Gail's Kitchen in Holborn can enjoy a truffled taleggio toastie served on a miniature tile.
Diners willing to move on from an apple crumble pudding can seek out a savoury chestnut, salted caramel and artichoke dessert at Tuddenham Mill on the Suffolk borders or candied celeriac at Nottingham's Sat Bains.
And those tiring of the type of molecular gastronomy championed by chefs such as Heston Blumenthal can instead sample "rotten" food cultured in kilner preserving jars in the restaurant's cellar.
But there have also been some "surprising" twists on old favourites, such as savoury doughnuts and a "posh" makeover for condensed milk that now sees it fried with bananas and used to sweeten porridge, Olive said.
Olive editor Christine Hayes said: "Something odd is happening in the food scene. Weirdness is in, in a big way, with the most outlandish ideas catching on in a way that simply hasn't happened before. Normal rules are being thrown out of the window.
"It might not be to everyone's taste but it really helps to highlight the extent to which the UK is leading the world in innovation."