Seventies party food could be due for comeback, if Waitrose’s new range of Scotch eggs is anything to go by.
The supermarket claims that the spherical bites have been slowly making their way back into fashion, thanks to an uptick in appearances on gastropub menus, and could even be the foodie trend of the summer. It’s not just finding success in gastropubs either, with Holborn Dining Room’s Calum Franklin revealing that his restaurant sells hundreds of Scotch eggs a day.
Early spring sales of Scotch eggs are up 8% already this year at Waitrose and shoppers are seeking out the retro food online too, with searches up 44% on its website compared to last year.
The trend for nostalgic eats has been something Food Spark has been documenting over the last year, with inspiration cropping up in the likes of cakes, chocolates and food concepts focusing on dishes like bubble and squeak, as well as being predicted to have a big influence on food by innovators like the Co-op’s Breige Donaghy.
Due to the increase in demand for the Scotch egg, Waitrose is introducing four new varieties as part of its Scrumptious Summer range.
Continuing to plumb British traditions, one flavour is inspired by the ploughman’s lunch, combining pork and pickle with cheddar cheese and an oat-and-herb breadcrumb exterior to deliver a tangy take.
Another in the range riffs off black pudding, consisting of a hard-boiled egg encased in seasoned pork sausage meat and black pudding, coated with a herby sage and onion breadcrumb. This, the supermarket says, can be eaten as a breakfast alternative or tasty snack.
The two other SKUs are a Scotch egg with pork, pea and mint, and a pork and beetroot variant that brings a pop of colour to a plate, as well as an earthy taste and slightly bitter tang from the beetroot purée, which Waitrose suggests could be used to accompany a summer salad.
“The idea behind our Scrumptious Summer range was to take nostalgic food and flavours and reinvent them in a modern way,” said Jonathan Moore, executive chef at Waitrose. “The trend for Scotch eggs is on the rise and we know our customers enjoy unusual flavour combinations – so we took the make-up of the Scotch egg and reinvented it with a modern twist.”
The new range will appear on shelves from May 8 and retail for £1.59 per item.
But it’s not just savoury eggs that are proving popular at Waitrose, with Heston Blumenthal’s sweet creation for Easter – a yuzu-flavoured chocolate number – a hit with shoppers. The grocer has increased its orders of the cocoa-based confection so that egg enthusiasts will be able to snap up the sweet treat throughout summer.
Chefs have also been adding international influences to the Scotch egg too.
Jikoni’s mash up of Chinese prawn toast with a Scotch egg is a perennial favourite among diners, said chef Ravinder Bhogal, while The Smoking Goat's Ali Borer won the Scotch Egg Challenge for a second time this year with his pork and offal laab invention. (In 2018, he took the crown with a version comprised of southern Thai-spiced Tamworth pork with fermented crab, chilli and kaffir lime.)
Other notable entries in the contest came from Mark Taft, executive chef at The Seafood Pub Company, who showcased a spiced quail and lamb Scotch egg coated in an onion bhaji crust. Andy Waugh from Mac & Wild, meanwhile, dazzled with a venison, black pudding and haggis concoction.
So is Sparkie packing the picnic basket with old-timey eats?
Most of these things tend to start with Waitrose and then become adopted by other retailers when/if they prove popular, which I think this type of thing will.Other retailers have already begun by making premium-end sausage rolls, for example, after Waitrose led the way.
I think we will have to wait and see if this is going to be limited to snack foods or if this expands into other categories, but I thinktraditional British bites will be targeted first. Either way, I’d definitely expect to see more of it in the future.