Some Red with your Grilled Water Scorpions?
Coming soon to a Kindle near you the definitive wine lovers guide to the French region producing the best red or white wine for entomophagans.
(Read more French News here)
For if some reports are to be believed the food of the future lies with the cheap, low fat and healthy diet favoured by those who advocate entomophagy (that is edible insect eating to you and me), a specific delicacy in many cultures but less generally accepted by those reared in Western habitats.
That said insects will go down better with wine so what wine should one try ? This video clip shows Antonin Iommi-Amunategui, founder of Vindicateur.fr, at a tasting of edible insects (grasshoppers, crickets, mealworms …) and making an attempt at food pairing.
Expect some time soon then to see your sommelier approaching with an illustrated wine list — geared for the entomophaganly-challenged — and designed to get the best out of the exotic-sounding sauterelles, grillons, vers de farine (for as one would expect all edible insects offered as entrees or plats de jour will have French names so as to reassure the less adventurous. Equally we should expect to see delicately-crafted, wonder-filled dishes by Michelin-starred French chefs beautifully plated so as to soothe those of weaker disposition who would normally baulk at fried grasshoppers, crickets and mealworms sautéed in goose fat.
Heed the advice then of wine writer Antonin Iommi-Amunategui who draws attention to a market niche he believes may not be far off and discusses appropriate wines and liquors to make for a memorable entomophagan meal here.
In his report on the Rue 89 website he notes that the insects in question — grasshoppers, crickets, meal worms, spiders, ants and company — are generally characterized by their crispness (thanks to their shells, their elytra — the modified front wings of the beetle — or their chitin the protective outer-casings of simple invertebrates) and by a certain greasiness (where worm-like insects and caterpillars are concerned).
So the inveterate wine writer “put his hair shirt on” and tucked into his grillons as he went wine tasting to find the best bottles for the two basic types of insect likely to be offered in the restaurants of the not-too-distant future (see the video above).
After his heroic and clearly serious effort here are his suggestions: “a red Beaujolais with its crispy fruity flavour, is ideal for insects of the several legged variety”. However to highlight the greasy skin of the mealworm he recommends “a white Chardonnay-based Jura (but Savagnin Blanc would be fine) fragrant and itself slightly gras in this case”. As for the giant water bug, also known as the water scorpion – “and certainly a magnificent specimen – well that’s another story” he says dropping it back onto the plate (see video above) not necessarily failing to match this culinary piece de resistance with a local wine but clearly satiated on insects by this stage.
Finally and by way of concluding his gourmet experiment, he suggests tasting a “Breton entomological rum” which incorporates Jymyny Breizh, a Breton Celtic cricket or sauterelle bred by organic cricket farmers specially for local rum makers and available here and here. Indeed if you’re in need of a real lift you might try the oak-aged rum incorporating a scorpion and also featured on the website.
According to the Rome-based UN Food and Agricultural Organisation, up to 1,700 edible insects are available worldwide – and one day may be a significant part of our diet, says Antonin Iommi-Amunategui. Insects are after all healthier, greener, offer more nutritional value than meat and could be an almost inexhaustible food resource. FAO says crickets need six times less food than cattle, four times less than sheep, and two times less than pigs and broilers to produce the same amount of protein.
***For more traditional recipes read Vivienne Bolton’s choices here***
If you’re convinced try these French recipes all found on the French-language Comby website:
Terrine de grillons
Sauce méditerranéenne aux grillons
Ragoût de sauterelles
Suprème de larves
Paëlla aux grillons
Beignets de grillons
Larves et chenilles frites
Bananes flambées aux insectes et au rhum
Choco-croquines (insectes au chocolat)
Grillons séchés au soleil
Galettes de grillons au caramel à la mode mexicaine
Insectes bouillis et ratatouille d’insectes
Brochettes de criquets au barbecue
Insectes en gelée
Sorbet au grillons
Pain aux grillons
Quiche aux ténébrions
Raviolis aux criquets
Bouchées friandes et croquantes
Les insectes pochés
Crème patissière aux oeufs de drosophile
Salade de pommes de terre à la mode papouasienne
La recette préférée de l’entomologiste Fabre
Le grand classique : le sauté de coléoptères
Before you start you’ll need to stock up on insect supplies here:
Sites in French:
- http://www.super-insolite.com/cadeaux-originaux-maison/vers-soie-insectes-g… <-
Sites in English:
- http://www.thailandunique.com/index.php?route=product/category&path=1 <-
In this video David Gracer, an American entomophagy (insect eating) expert makes the case for wider consumption of insects.
Story: Ken Pottinger
Now FAO, the Rome-based UN Food and Agricultural Organisation, has produced a report advocating insect- eating as the way to global food security. Toulouse-based French entrepreneurs have been ahead of the game on this — remember you read it here first!
- Why You Should Love Grasshopper Tacos and Kelp Pasta (slate.com)
- Edible Insects: Finger Lickin’ Grub (science.kqed.org)
- Entomophagy Diet Supplementation Options, by C.N. (survivalblog.com)
- How NOT to Eat Mealworms (groundtoground.org)
- Meet the Mealworms (mrswirtanen.wordpress.com)