This story comes from Esquire Weekly, our special edition for iPad and iPhone. Out every Thursday, it’s full of new and exclusive content and costs just 99p an issue or £4.99 for a three-month subscription.
1 | Alpaca (above)
The alpaca may be most prized for its cashmere-like pelt. But beyond making for a darned expensive jumper or particularly snuggly socks, you can eat the thing too. Best appreciated as a steak served medium rare along with a Grand Cru red Bordeaux, this lean meat is as tender as the finest wagyu beef.
Buy online at www.osgrow.com
2 | Crocodile
One of few white meats that doesn’t taste ‘just like chicken’, the tail is where the fillet action is and makes for a decidedly unique texture and flavour. Best described as a toughened monkfish, enjoy it with a caper butter sauce and an aromatic torrontes white.
Order online from www.keziefoods.co.uk
3 | Whale
Guaranteed to set off the eco-squeamish rather than the eating-squeamish, whale meat can be a rare treat. Enjoy this gamey, tuna-like meat as sashimi, along with optional wasabi, pickled ginger and soy sauce. Your closest restaurant is probably in Iceland, though, so combine with a visit to the Blue Lagoon.
4 | Maggot-rot cheese
Casu marzu is a cheese infested with maggots. Made from sheep’s milk, this soft and pungent cheese is left out in the open to attract flies. They lay their eggs, which hatch as maggots, eat the cheese and cause it to rot. It has a pecorino texture, tastes like gorgonzola and writhes. While illegal to buy in the EU, there is a black market operating in Sardinia.
5 | Huhu grubs
Popular among the Maori of New Zealand, they are similar in appearance to a white caterpillar. Eaten live or cooked, they have a taste and texture similar to peanut butter. If they disappoint, you’re in New Zealand – cue up some fresh oysters and a glass of sauvignon blanc instead.
6 | Sweetbreads
In Britain, sweetbreads typically include the throat, gullet and the business end of a ram. They are among the most flavoursome parts of the beast, available in some rustic pubs or from time to time at St John in London. Enjoy them deep fried in panko crumbs for the classic ‘Rocky Mountain oysters’.
7 | Grasshoppers
Loaded with protein, they’re enjoyed around the world, particularly at street markets in South East Asia and Mexico. The latter marries the crunchy texture of grasshopper with lime and garlic for a zippy snack. Don’t count on a few of these aiding your workout, unless you’re flexing your culinary muscles.
Buy online at www.eatgrub.co.uk
8 | Rattlesnake
From Vietnamese snake wine to Arizona stew, snakes add a bit of pep to most meals. Rattlesnake is no exception. This one really does taste like a coarse chicken. Enjoy it skinned, deep fried or grilled and well seasoned with salt and pepper.
Available at www.keziefoods.co.uk
9 | Guinea pig
A favourite of the South American Andes, particularly Peru, these are best consumed away from sensitive girlfriends. Typically grilled spatchcock (halved and flattened, essentially) over an open flame or grill, the meat is like dark chicken, and there’s not much of it. Your best bet for sampling this delicacy is in Peru, Colombia or Bolivia.
10 | Zebra
Farmed, not hunted down on the Serengeti plains, zebra is essentially a striped horse. Not that Sir David Attenborough would agree. Zebra meat is relatively lean and can be slightly tough, so enjoy as a burger at restaurants such as Archipelago in London with a South African cabernet sauvignon from Stellenbosch.