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In this series, Mintel analysts share their recent food adventures, highlighting the exciting, the delicious, the intriguing and the terrible food and drink they’ve tried lately. This month they’ve been on the hunt for new experiences, sampling ‘special effect’ desserts and overcoming the ‘yuck’ factor of crickets.

The crunchiness of crickets

Amy Price, Senior Food and Drink Analyst (London)

“Mintel’s food and drink team has taken inspiration from survival-style reality show I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! and undergone in its own challenge – trying Sainsbury’s newly launched Eat Grub bugs, or more particularly Smoky BBQ Crunchy Roasted Crickets. The retailer is the first in the UK to launch edible bugs. Customers can snap up a 12g bag of the house crickets or acheta domesticus, which are farmed in Europe, for just £1.50 for about 50 bugs. Lauded for their “packed with protein” content, insects have been touted as an alternative, sustainable food source. The crickets actually taste okay. Rather more flakey than crunchy. But there’s no denying they look like bugs. While Sainsbury’s states insects are no longer a gimmick or something to be eaten for a dare, the bugs are not for the faint-hearted.”

The surprise of an egg-shaped cheesecake

Isabella Palacios, Senior Client Service Manager (Mexico)

“I recently came back from a client presentation in Monterrey, Mexico, and had the pleasure of trying a fantastic, ‘special effect’ dessert: Soursop and Passion Fruit Cheesecake in the shape of an egg. The ‘shell’ of the egg was made of white chocolate, while the inside was a soursop mousse representing the egg white, filled with a heart of passion fruit to mimic the yolk. As a final touch, the egg came on top of a ‘nest’ of potato and cocoa hash. My review? ABSOLUTELY MIND-BLOWING! The experience of ‘cracking’ the egg and seeing the yolk come out was remarkable. The mix of flavors was unparalleled: the perfect balance of sweet, savory, and sour. And the whole idea of each piece of the dessert representing a completely different food or object is just genius!”

The global flavour of roast potatoes

Trish Caddy, Senior Foodservice Analyst (London)

There’s nothing better than a perfect roast potato side dish and some London restaurants are upping their spud game by dousing them in global flavours. Smashed Nduja baby potatoes with Nduja butter, chimichurri, za’atar and roasted garlic cream by Wingmans at the Taste of London restaurant festival really stood out for me. I love how Wingmans has taken mouth-watering sauces and condiments from all over the world to spice up the humble potato. Miso potatoes with chives is another variant, by hicce at Coal Drops Yard. Miso, a paste made from fermented soya beans and mainly used in Japanese cooking, delivers an umami hit with a taste that’s similar to Marmite and, surprisingly, pairs perfectly with buttery roast potatoes.”