As a food blogger for Love Local Food, I have to be well versed in the latest food trends, even if that means trying creepy crawly critters. Bug food is quickly gaining popularity here in Ontario, so Shannon and I decided to visit BugFeast 2018 at the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory to see what all the rage is about.
BugFeast’s 2018 theme is Chocolate which pairs well with Peterborough-based Entomo Farms’ insects. BugFeast’s buggy samples include chocolate “chirp” cookies made with cricket flour, white chocolate bark with roasted ants and cricket milk chocolates. Yes, I tried all three!
The ‘chirp’ cookies were pretty good. I would have never guessed they were made with cricket flour. The white chocolate bark did have an earthy flavour, but it was enjoyable. Perhaps the initial roast of the ants is the key to making this buggy treat so tasty. The final sample I tried was cricket milk chocolates. I decided to go with a piece that had the largest and most prominent cricket abdomen sticking out for full effect and flavour. I was immediately taken back to my childhood on Easter morning when the Easter Bunny would bring me a Lil’ Crispy chocolate bunny. I’ve always preferred my chocolate with a little crunch, what can I say!
More about those bugs
This year’s BugFeast sponsor Entomo Farms is operated out of Peterborough by brothers Darren, Ryan and Dr. Jarrod Goldin. With a goal of contributing to global food change and providing solutions, “leading the insect protein revolution,” they are the authority on insect protein for human consumption in Ontario. They also supply President’s Choice with the crickets for their newly released cricket powder you can now find on shelves.
So are insects the future of food?
It’s definitely possible with this latest food fad hitting grocery stores and restaurants. In fact, this past weekend I also tried buggy bar snacks at newly opened Loloan Lobby Bar in Waterloo. Paired with crispy red lentils and savoury flavouring, cricket bits were served up in little bamboo boats and it was downright delicious.
IKEA has also been working on future foods (that include bugs) at Space10, their future living lab. The two dishes IKEA has announced are a ‘bug burger’ made from beets, parsnips, potatoes and mealworm, and the ‘neatball’ — a spin on their IKEA meatball that’s made from mealworm and root vegetables. No details have been shared as to when these buggy dishes will be served up in Canadian stores, but stay tuned!
Looking for more bugs on the menu?
Give these Toronto restaurants a try.
El Catrin, Toronto
Dish: Add crickets to your guac!
Cookie Martinez, Toronto
Dishes: Oyster mushroom and cricket duxelles, Agar agar and cricket garnish, Cricket Kebabs, Cricket Empanadas
Death in Venice Gelato, Toronto
Dishes: Rotating insect-infused gelato!
I’ll be honest, ants, crickets and mealworms aren’t something I’m going to be craving again anytime soon, but I do love the idea of this sustainable food source showing up on menus and store shelves! It’s also great to see this alternative form of farming taking off in Ontario.
Let us know about your favourite bug dishes, recipes and treats! Join our conversation on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook by using the hashtag #LoveLocalFood!
As a southern Ontario farm girl, Stacey appreciates the hard work that goes into agriculture and is keen to support Ontario farmers. When she’s not writing copy or engaging on social media, you can find her dining at local small restaurants, cooking or enjoying Ontario craft beer and wine.