February 17, 2013 8:26 pm
A burger made knowingly from horsemeat has taken second place in the Financial Times’ Weekend’s regular “Taste Test” of 10 similar food products.
The frozen horse burgers were judged to have a “grown-up taste with mild, gratifying flavour of liver” by one of the three gourmet diners.
The blind tasting took place at the west London home of Sir Peter Bazalgette, chairman of the Arts Council and regular host of the column. His guests knew that one of the burgers was made of horse but not which one.
The full results of Saturday’s tasting will not be published until next month.
However, it was Waitrose which went the distance with its hand-pressed Aberdeen Angus Steak Burgers. Off the pace, by contrast, was Tesco’s Quarter Pounder Beef Burgers which shared joint last with Essential Waitrose British Beef Beefburgers.
Sir Peter, who cooked the burgers, said he had first tasted horse 30 years ago and found it “quite delicious”.
Concerns about horsemeat entering the food chain were not just about the possibility of other contamination but also about squeamishness about eating something “most people regard as a pet”, he said.
Sir Peter served the meat on its own, with no buns, salad or relish. One taster thought the horse burger was “meaty, heavily seasoned, with nutmeg to the fore” while another found it “substantial with an authentic whiff of offal”.
Sir Peter procured his horsemeat from Exotic Meats, a Derbyshire-based online retailer which imports it from France, Spain and Italy.
The company, which also sells zebra, bison, impala and camel, says it has attracted thousands of extra visitors since the horsemeat contamination scandal broke. Its website promises that none of its horse burgers has been contaminated with traces of beef.
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