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.
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.”)
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.
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?”