HORSES have been in the news this week. Or at least eating them has.

How bothered would you be, if on holiday, you found you were eating horsemeat?

A common staple in France and Italy, it was traditionally seen as one of the great culinary divides which separated us from our neighbours, along with frogs legs and snails. But on holiday – where would you draw the line?

I pride myself on being pretty adventurous when it comes to trying new food, especially dishes that I wouldn’t see in this country.

So grilled octopus was, for me, a delight when I had it one balmy New Year’s Eve in Barcelona. The fact that it looked like a slightly charred alien only put me off a bit.

A dish of kidneys in a mustard and cream sauce I had in a Parisian restaurant confirmed my love of the odder dishes on offer abroad. It was one of the most sublime I’d ever tasted.

I like to encourage this adventurous approach with my daughter.

When we were in Syria four years ago, I enthusiastically ordered sheep’s brains. They came golden-brown and deep-fried, almost chicken nugget-like. They actually tasted a bit bland, but she loved them.

This enthusiasm for all exotic food, though,  can sometimes backfire.

Once in a Tuscan restaurant I ordered the bollito misto – literally a ‘boiled mixture’.

This was an assortment of offal, simmered and served in stock with a parsley and garlic sauce. Some of it was delicious – the recognisable parts at least. The kidneys (I think) were delicate and a bit pink, but the long white thing that unfurled like a strip of carpet underlay didn’t go down well. I think it was tripe – a cut whose taste is impossible to mask.

My greatest come-uppance came when I saw a dish I’d long wanted to try on a menu du jour in Saint Nazaire.

‘Andouilette’ was something I'd read was a ‘chitterling sausage’. Not really knowing what chittlerlings were, I assumed it was a kind of sausage like black pudding or a salami. Either way, something smelled fantastic – so this was what I was having.

I will only say that it was actually a collection of tubing and tasted revolting. The fantastic smell turned out to be the other thing on the menu of the day – steak and chips.

Whether it was horsemeat, I’ll never know, but I would have gladly had it even if it were.