Woodland lichen is the latest delicacy growing on chefs and is being served deep-fried to fine diners.
The humble plant, which is most often spotted growing on rocks in damp areas, has had something of a makeover and has even been described as ‘the new kale’.
The once unglamorous greenery has become increasingly popular in recent years, particularly on menus at Michelin-star restaurants across the country.
Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck in Berkshire can be seen starring on the menu, a dish of ‘jelly of quail, crayfish cream, chicken liver parfait, oak moss [an edible lichen] and truffle toast.’
Despite its incredibly bitter taste, chefs are using moss to flavour everything from salmon to vodka.
Chef Simon Rogan even serves moss deep-fried as a bar snack while diners wait for their tables at L’Enclume restuarant in the Lake District.
Meanwhile Rene Redzepi’s famous Noma restaurant in Copenhagan currently serves moss in a dish with cep mushrooms. The growing trend is thought to have its roots in Scandinavian cuisine, where many key ingredients are foraged from local woodland.
Jeff Kipp, the head chef of Saltwood on the Green in Kent, said that moss is ideal for holding the moisture of fish and perfuming it with a hint of nature. ‘As the fish is almost done and the moss, with a rosemary tine, begins to dry out, the aromas definitely move from hay and pine towards the floral.’ He added that he regularly sources his own moss from his local wood – and that it is ideal for barbecuing oily fish.
While most mosses and lichens are edible, the majority are quite unpalatable when raw. Instead, it is recommended they are first boiled in milk to remove some of the bitterness. They can then be used to infuse meat and fish with a woody, aromatic taste.
Just Mayo, made from plants, set to rival Hellmann’s brand. Its arrival is part of a multi-million dollar high-tech food business big in US.
Silicon Valley visionaries are working on growing meat and eggs in labs. It is a multi-million dollar business which has taken the US by storm and includes everything from lab-grown meat to total food replacements.
Now, with the arrival of the plant based mayo, the UK is about to experience the beginnings of such a potential movement. Made from plants, it can replace eggs in everything from cakes to mayonnaise – without a chicken ever coming close to the production process. It was last year’s best-selling mayonnaise brand at the American supermarket Whole Foods.
Hampton Creek was founded by Josh Tetrick, 35, from Alabama in the US. He launched it after hearing about the often-disgusting conditions chicken eggs are produced in, coming up with the idea for synthetic eggs.
Whether the movement can grow to the point where people are happy to substitute a real full English breakfast for one made entirely of plants remains to be seen. But that is not going to slow down the visionaries who believe such an idea can become reality.
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, sponsored by S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, held the 13th annual awards last night (1st June 2015) at London’s Guildhall.
The announcement of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list has become one of the most highly anticipated moments of the culinary calendar with the best chefs in the world all in attendance to hear exactly which restaurant will be at the top. Here are the final placings:
1. El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain
2. Osteria Francescana, Modena, Italy
3. Noma, Copenhagen, Denmark
4. Central, Lima, Peru
5. Eleven Madison Park, New York, USA
6. Mugaritz, San Sebastian, Spain
7. Dinner, London, UK
8. Narisawa, Tokyo, Japan
9. D.O.M., Sao Paulo, Brazil
10. Gaggan, Bangkok, Thailand
11. Mirazur, Menton, France
12. L’Arpége, Paris, France
13. Asador Etxebarri, Atxondo, Spain
14. Astrid y Gaston, Lima, Peru
15. Steirereck, Vienna, Austria
16. Pujol, Mexico City, Mexico
17. Arzak, San Sebastian, Spain
18. Le Bernardin, New York, USA
19. Azurmendi, Larrabetzu, Spain
20. The Ledbury, London, UK
21. Le Chateaubriand, Paris, France
22. Nahm, Bangkok, Thailand
23. White Rabbit, Moscow, Russia
24. Ultraviolet, Shanghai, China
25. Fäviken, Järpen, Sweden
26. Alinea, Chicago, USA
27. Piazza Duomo, Alba, Italy
28. The Test Kitchen, Cape Town, South Africa
29. Nihonryori RyuGin, Tokyo, Japan
30. Vendôme, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany
31. Restaurant Frantzén, Stockholm, Sweden
32. Attica, Melbourne, Australia
33. Aqua, Wolfsburg, Germany
34. Le Calandre, Rubano, Italy
35. Quintonil, Mexico City, Mexico
36. L’Astrance, Paris, France
37. Biko, Mexico City, Mexico
38. Amber, Hong Kong, China
39. Quique Dacosta, Dénia, Spain
40. Per Se, New York, USA
41. Mani, Sao Paulo, Brazil
42. Borago, Santiago, Chile (a tie)
42. Tickets, Barcelona, Spain (a tie)
44. Maido, Lima, Peru
45. Relae, Copenhagen, Denmark
46. Restaurant Andre, Singapore,
47. Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, Paris, France
48. Schloss Schauenstein, Furstenau, Switzerland
49. Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocanto Hills, USA
50. The French Laundry, Yountville, USA