London’s Fortnum & Mason Meets Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes
If you’ve ever considered swallowing the worm in the bottom of a tequila bottle or smacked your lips while watching “Fear Factor” contestants gobbling African cave-dwelling spiders alive, then Fortnum & Mason has a special section just for you.
This iconic British department store, founded in 1707, is renowned for its elegant food halls. It was the birthplace of the legendary Scotch egg (a hard-boiled egg swathed in sausage and bread crumbs), and during the Crimean War, Queen Victoria supplied Florence Nightingale’s hospitals with the store’s beef tea–no doubt inspiring many a wounded hero to get back on his feet, if only to escape another cuppa bovine brew. It also claims the distinction of being the first store in Britain to stock tins of baked beans, which have since become the culinary wind beneath the wings of the empire, as it were.
These days, Fortnum & Mason is perhaps best known for its gorgeous food hampers, which range from £27.50 for two quarter-bottles of champagne to £1,000 for the colossal St. James Hamper, containing a right royal spread including caviar, foie gras, and a magnum of vintage champagne.
However, in one quiet back corner, next to rows of colourfully-packaged kitchen cupboard staples like edible rose petals and dill pollen, you’ll find Fortnum & Mason’s own little shop of horrors.
It’s like Harry Potter’s Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes come to life. But instead of the Weasley twins’ Puking Pastilles and Nosebleed Nougat, displays include dubious delicacies like Edible Toffee Scorpion Candy and Thai Curry Crickets.
Here’s a look at some of the best…er, at least the most unusual foodie fare Fortnum & Mason has on offer.
The afore-mentioned “Edible” Toffee Scorpion Candy. (A word to the wise. It “may contain sharp parts.”)
Chocolate-covered scorpions, for those who prefer their creepy-crawlies covered in cocoa.
Alcohol-laced lollipops, with your choice of a worm or a scorpion. Hey, it’s a trick and a treat!
Don’t have much of a sweet tooth? Not to worry. There a wide selection of savouries, as well. How about…giant toasted ants?
Curry crickets and BBQ flavoured worms. These pocket-sized pouches are perfect for satiating hunger pangs (or possibly making you lose your appetite altogether) when you’re on the run.
Mmm, mmm mopane worms. Ready to eat, so you can cure that craving in a hurry. Get yours now, before these emperor moth caterpillars fly off the shelves!
Lest you think vegetarians (or insectarians) get to have all the fun, how about a taste of reindeer pate, “a farm raised relative of Rudolph?”
And finally, you’ll want to wash it all down with…what else? A swig of that scorpion vodka. Bon appetit!