Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Bug’s Life: The Edible Bug Shop and Kettle Town | Shopping

I’m on a roll if you haven’t already noticed on alternative sources of food (following my recent article about Foraging for Edible Weeds). You read it right. Bugs and insects. You can eat and drink them. Weeds and bugs - I’m well and truly set for homelessness in Sydney. But you don’t need to be stranded somewhere in the middle of the bush or forest to eat bugs. You can order them online and have them delivered to your doorstep by the handful or bag full covered in chocolate and spices.

Eat them...

I first tried edible bugs at the Good Food and Wine Show a couple of weeks ago and like all things that we are not accustomed to eating, what better way to try them than with a spoonful of sugar. I tried these creepy crawlies in ice-cream. The ice cream flavours to choose from included Guava and Ant Sorbet; Salted Caramel and Mealworms; and Pistachio and Choc Covered Crickets. I had all 3 scoops in the one bucket for maximum enjoyment. The guava and ant sorbet was nice, fruity taste of guava with little bits of ants in your mouth (just make sure they don’t get stuck between your teeth or you may need to floss them out), like the texture of sesame seeds, with a bit of acidity taste of ants. Pistachio and Choc Covered Crickets was crunchy, both from the nuts and the crickets. You can work out which is which, as the crickets in your mouth have this tentacle like feeling on your tongue. It’s very crunchy and delicious. If you don’t want the textural taste of bugs in your mouth then perhaps the Salted Caramel and Mealworm ice-cream is for you – it’s blended in so you won’t notice you’re eating worms. It’ll glide down your throat.

I must admit, I hesitated a few minutes before I could actually put the ice cream in my mouth, buying time taking photos of it instead of launching straight into this little delicacy. But once you get over the ‘YUCK’ factor and the mental image of eating backyard bugs, it’s actually really good. It’s apparently nutritious for you too and a sustainable alternative food sauce. 

Apart from the novelty factor, why eat bugs? Most edible bugs are high in protein and low in fat and will contain essential vitamins, minerals and fatty acids that are good for you. For example, crickets are high in calcium. You can read more about the bugs’ nutritional value on the
Edible Bug website.

The bugs can take on the characteristics from other ingredients that are used in a dish to give the whole recipe a new and exciting flavour. You can order ants, crickets, or mealworms by the bug...I mean bag full and if you are feeling adventurous, bake a cake and add a cup of each to see what it might taste like. I think I’ll save that one as treat for a special invite only dinner party...for The Addams Family perhaps.

Drink Them...

If eating bugs wasn’t enough, you can also drink them. Kettle Town now makes their own Strawberry Ant Hills Tea. They have combined The Edible Bug Shop’s specially bred ants with black tea, raspberry and strawberry to design this unique blend of tea.

Admittedly, I sat on this box of Strawberry Ant Hills Tea for about 2 weeks before opening it. I decided to bring it to a big family Sunday buffet lunch, to share the love a bit and for the novelty factor. After looking at the contents of the tea and you can see the bits of ants in it (and they don’t float to the top but are scattered amongst the tea leaves when you brew it) I got a few “Are you serious?” But after one person leads the way, you’ll have a tribe of followers who are wanting to try it. And why not, it’s something different. A few minority said, “I’ll just finish what I am drinking and come back to you”. They never did, whilst others asked for “More please!” Our Sunday buffet feast had a range of desserts – caramel slices, cheese cake, apple tarts and fruit and these desserts paired really well with a cup of Strawberry Ant Tea. To be honest, if no one told me there were ants in it, or if I didn’t look close enough into the tea’s contents. I would not have realised little creatures were part of the ingredients. It tasted like a refreshing strawberry flavoured tea with the ever so slightest tang but seriously you won’t notice. It really did go well with the dessert buffet we had.


A cousin of mine was vegetarian and yet she tried it. My aunt questioned, “Isn’t Aria vegetarian? Is she converting to meat?” If she is, then she is starting out small…very small.

Give it a go. It’s fun, quirky, a conversation starter and pairs really well with virtually any dessert you are having. Forget the Earl Grey - have your own little Ant Tea Party!

Sample packs available for $3 each and 50g packs available for $15 each

Ingredients: Black tea, Rasberry, ants, strawberry flavour



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