From Gin to muscle food – bugs are the new hot thing!
One of the most fun parts of my work is finding new and exciting food and drink and sampling it. This not only involves looking out for new places opening in Cambridge but food trends too as I am keen to share the latest food and drink with our guests on our food tours. One of these ‘new’ foods has now finally arrived in Cambridge.
This superfood is tasty, nutritious, sustainable and packed with protein. I have been talking about these creepy crawlies on our food walking tours for quite a few years. And the reason for this is? The Anty Gin, a joint venture between the experimental Copenhagen-based Nordic Food Lab and the Cambridge Distillery.
One of the essential ingredients of the Anty Gin is Formica rufa, a redwood ant found in forests around the Northern Hemisphere and also in Kent. Supported by other botanicals this Gin has a lemony flavour. Apparently, depending on which part of the world you are in, the formic acid of woodland ants taste has a lemon or orange flavour. No, I haven’t been going around the globe trying out all these ants! You’ll be amazed how many of our guests have eaten insects. Either part of their military training, culture or out of curiosity.
Many people are horrified by the thought of eating edible bugs. We all can agree, that quite a few of them look pretty scary. But what about prawns? They are very popular and look just as creepy as edible bugs. Did you know that the pink prawns from Asia were only introduced into our Western society in the 70s so that is not that long ago and these are considered to be a delicacy? In some countries in South America it is more common to eat insects than meat and they consider us to be odd. To be fair, it is just what you are used to.
I have always wondered how long it would take before edible bugs were going to be sold in Cambridge. The time has arrived! The other day I attended a Japanese insect and wine tasting at the Cambridge Wine Merchants. Everybody thought that they were very tasty, but the silk moth did not the best votes. It certainly has an acquired flavour, a bit musty. Like Marmite; you either love or hate it.
At the time of writing this article, Sainsbury announced to start selling edible bugs in their stores. I wonder how many more will follow. Many people are looking at alternatives for meat and fish so will the choice be plant-based or this protein-packed alternative instead?
Anty Gin – Cambridge Distillery
Cambridge Wine Merchants
Grub Kitchen (not local – this one is in Pembrokeshire)