Are edible bugs your new grub?

edible bugs

Have you been on one of the award-winning Cambridge Food Tours? Did you know we have many returning guests too? To keep the tours interesting, I review them every year as I like to keep them fresh, including new trends and newly opened foodie spots. The local food scene is booming, almost difficult to keep up. Even for me! 

Talking about trends, have you come across ‘Edible bugs’? Probably not in Cambridge, but maybe elsewhere in the world or in London? Have you tried them? Or do you think it is too creepy?

In 2017, I watched The Grub Couple on BBC One. It is an interesting programme in which Entomologist Dr Sarah Beynon and award-winning chef Andy Holcroft explain how their paths crossed. They finally put their creativity and ideology into a mission and transformed their beef farm in West Wales into a one-stop bug shop and restaurant, the Grub Kitchen. 

This Pembrokeshire couple loves eating bugs and wants the UK public to eat them too. They are certainly on a mission! So are you ready to take the jump? I was pretty surprised then to learn that 1 out of 5 Brits is considering becoming Vegan. Many people are looking for a more sustainable alternative protein to meat so are Edible Bugs the way forward?

We have been talking about Edible Bugs on our Food Tours for many years now. The topic always comes up when we talk about Gin. The Cambridge Gin Lab creates unique Gins, and one of them is the Anty Gin

This is produced in collaboration with the Nordic Food Lab in Copenhagen. Noma, the 2 Michelin Star restaurant, used to be opposite the Food Lab, and it has been said that only the least weird food ended up in Noma. Insects were one of them! We had a guest on our tour a few years ago who had had the steak with crushed ants at Noma. Apparently, it was very nice! 

The Anty Gin tastes like lemon. Much to my surprise, quite a few guests on our food tours have had insects during their RAF training and others out of curiosity. Ants taste different in every continent, sometimes sweet as an orange or fresh like a lemon.

Anty Gin and Bug Bolognese sauce

Eating insects are common in quite a few countries such as Asia, South America and Africa. It is slowly becoming more popular as a substitute for meat or personal preference because of the flavour.

Some people think they look pretty creepy, as we tend to link them to the horrible insects you see crawling over dirt or rubbish. Edible Bugs are farmed like the meat we consume, and to be fair, it is just what you are used to. Many of us don’t hesitate to eat prawns or oysters, and the last ones are still alive actually when you crack them open. Prawns look pretty creepy too, but we don’t mind that at all. 

Three years ago, they did a pilot in two Dutch supermarkets selling Edible Bugs. I watched a Youtube clip, and I was surprised by the positive response and comments. One client said, “it tastes like prawns”. 

Mealworm burgers are a hot item on the continent, and ground insects adding to sauces too. Not convinced yet? You might want to start with a chocolate chip biscuit. On a BBC One programme, they showed a panel tasting two chocolate biscuits. One regular chocolate biscuit and one made with Edible Bugs. You probably can guess the outcome. Indeed, the chocolate chip biscuit with Edible Bugs was the winner!

So will we be feeding you Edible Bugs on the Cambridge Food Tours? As soon as they become available in Cambridge, we will incorporate them as tasting on one of our Food Tours. However, it is up to you if you want to try it!


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