Moving Mountains meatless burger

The Moving Mountains meatless burger

I don’t want to go to hell. If I do, all that eternal fire means the white wine will be warm and the steak well done. It would be typical of the Devil to run a lousy restaurant, but nobody deserves their steak to be anything less than juicy.

Anyway, I’ll be enjoying a silky Malbec with my ruined meat at Diablo’s, so that’s one problem dealt with. But for those individuals whose life is a living hell right here on earth – hello vegetarians! – rest assured someone is making sure you don’t miss out on the primal thrill of devouring something that once lived.

Sort of. This week saw the launch of the Moving Mountains burger, a veggie burger with a twist. It oozes blood. Not real blood, obviously, that would be a flaw, but a canny substitute (beetroot juice) to satisfy all those bloodthirsty vegetarians out there.

Of which there are… none? Fake blood seems an odd choice to use as a selling point when all vegetarians automatically reject anything with blood in it.

Over to the inventor of this visceral veggie burger, vegan and Ecozone MD Simeon Van der Molen, who says his bleeding patty, which is made from mushrooms, potatoes, coconut oil, soy, wheat proteins and vitamin B12, “refuses to compromise” on taste. He also says it’s taken a crack team of “scientists, chefs and farmers over 100 test kitchen recipes and two years to make” and is the “closest replication to animal meat in the UK”.

It’s not a crowded field. But Moving Mountains has determined competition worldwide, including Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat (which is backed by Bill Gates, Leonardo DiCaprio and the weight of Tyson Foods). A Beyond Meat product is rumoured to hit Tesco in 2018.

Like Van der Molen, DiCaprio claims the plant burgers requires less land and water, and release fewer greenhouse gases. And though DiCaprio was probably unavailable to talk today, Van der Molen says unsatisfied veggies are demanding products that are “innovative, exciting and use ground-breaking techniques to provide the best possible taste”.

The ‘best possible taste’ bit gags a little. You get the best possible taste from a real burger by sprinkling salt and pepper on it and frying it. It doesn’t need two years of tinkering by scientists engineering flavours, textures and mouthfeel in a lab to taste good.

’Obscure techno-ingredients’

As Joanna Blythman pointed out in her investigation into the “obscure techno-ingredients” used to mimic meat, the Impossible Burger isn’t quite as natural and wholesome as it seems. So though its various creators believe this new breed of burger will also appeal to meat eaters and flexitarians (millennials who think meat is murder-ish but reserve the right to enjoy bacon cheeseburgers) they may be better off with the real deal.

Then again, there is nothing wholesome about the insidious spread of factory farming to keep up with global demand for meat. And however good a real burger tastes, vegetarians and vegans can’t eat them. So if you ignore the heavily processed aspect – and these burgers are by no means the only heavily processed products on the market – this could be viewed as another interesting injection of life into what is becoming a fairly lively category.

It wasn’t that long ago that it was exciting to see a vegetarian sausage. So bravo to those pushing the boundaries. And only the Devil himself would deny a vegetarian a little bit of pleasure once in a while.