Tesco sells garlic in bizarre new shade

The superstore will be selling the sweeter, non-smelly black garlic in stores from May. Alessia Horwich sees what other unusual foods are debuting this spring.

We British have an appetite for unusual foods. Literally. No sooner is breast milk ice cream back on the menu in London, but Tesco announces its latest unusual food product, black garlic.

Yes, you read right – garlic that’s black. But it’s not simply a darker version of the familiar white bulb, oh no.

Is it really different to normal garlic?

According to the producers it is much sweeter than traditional garlic. You can even eat it raw, straight from the bulb, and you won’t get bad breath or feel like your mouth is on fire.

In fact, it is being sold as a pimped-up version of regular garlic that has twice the amount on anti-oxidants as the pale variety. It also has a longer shelf-life, it’s low in fat and it is rich in natural sugars and amino acids, making it extra tasty as a cooking ingredient.

Why is it black?

To get the colour, white garlic is fermented and the sugars and amino acids contained within it combine to produce melanoidin, a substance which stains the cloves black. The process gives greater depth of flavour and gets rid of the smell.

How do I cook with it?

If you don’t fancy chomping on raw cloves, black garlic works well with roasts like this from Henry Dimbleby, pasta sauces like this, risottos like this from Paul Merrett and stocks. The taste is reminiscent of the sweetness of balsamic or molasses and it subtly adds a bit of umami to meals without overpowering them.

When can I buy it?

Garlic turned goth will be on Tesco shelves from May, but it’s not the only unusual food product debuting in our supermarkets this spring. This week Petit Pois cakes were launched at Selfridges. Brought to us by ‘Cook Yourself Thin’ chef Harry Eastwood, they look like normal cutsy cupcakes. But actually, they have more grated vegetable in them than any other ingredient.

Cakes with vegetables in?

The lemon and vanilla flavour cakes are packed with courgette, the chocolate with beetroot and the orange with pumpkin. Apparently, beneath the delectable flavour of the 70% cocoa, real vanilla bean and fresh citrus you can’t even taste the veggies. Plus, even with the icing, a Petit Pois cake has just half the calories of a normal cupcake and it’s one of your five a day.

Chocolate flavoured tea

Tea4life has tried something similar with hot chocolate, introducing their new product Chocolatea in January. It’s exactly what it says on the tin, chocolate flavoured tea. They make it from raw cacao nibs combined with fresh Japanese sencha (green tea) and say it’s got all the creamy goodness of hot chocolate with no added fats, sugars. Plus you get all the health benefits of green tea too. If you like green tea ice-cream, you’ll probably like it. But can it curb the chocolate cravings of the nation? Probably not.

Muesli that turns you on

Far from curbing cravings, a new muesli in supermarkets is boosting our desire over breakfast. Maca’s Secrets from Alara is billed as the UK’s first aphrodisiac muesli. Maca is a vegetable that grows on the high slopes of the Peruvian Andes, where locals consider it to be the fountain of youth and vitality. Alara have combined it with sweet sticky dates, hot granola and plump pumpkin seeds combat fatigue, slow signs of ageing and really get you going in the morning – or whenever you eat it. A bowl in front of the TV after work could really change the course of your evening for the better. But be careful – it’s strictly for adults only.

Black truffle spritz

If you fancy spicing up your love-life with a meal that’s a bit more romantic than a bowl of muesli, then why not try adding a puff of black truffle powder to your dish? Yes, The food Resource company have freeze-dried and powdered rich black truffles, selling the powder in a small puff dispenser. Spritz it into omelettes, mash or creamy pastas for a subtle taste of truffle. One puff of the notorious aphrodisiac is enough, and because you’re using such a little at a time, the price shouldn’t spoil the mood.

More unusual foods

Unusual foods are nothing new. You can find them lurking in all food stores. Hemp oil and milk are both sold in Tesco. Made from hemp seed, they contain tonnes of Omega 3, 6 and 9 and the oil has half the saturated fat of olive oil. Chocolate or yoghurt-covered edamame beans, blue corn tortilla chips and cake pops (cake lollipops) are all wacky snacks. You can also get red chilli and rosemary jellies, champagne marmite, pure white truffle cream and Freshburst Pearls – little balls of fruity flavour, for sprinkling on your dessert, that burst open in your mouth

Weirdest of all was Easy Tasty Magic’s The Devil’s Breath, a brandy, chilli and edible gold spray to spritz over your food. That makes black garlic look almost normal. 

Also worth your attention

Journal – The most unusual chocolate flavours

Producers - The chilliest chilli farmer in the world

Recipe – Paul A Young’s stilton truffles

Recipe – Paul A Young’s mulled wine hot chocolate

Journal – The scary sweetner in your food  

Journal – Breast milk ice cream hits the shops



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