Last weekend we had an autumn garden party and various friends around. Somebody mentioned that they had been enjoying my series on eating insects, and asked if I had any they could try. All I in the house was some wild black ants, so I passed them around. There was a general consensus that they were tasty, though nobody knew exactly what you were supposed to do with them.
That’s not a charge you could bring against the Canadian start-up Gryllies. They’re making pasta sauces fortified with cricket protein, due for imminent launch on Kickstarter. We got our hands on a sample of that storecupboard staple and go-to for any parent in a hurry: pesto.
As a pre-launch sample, ours came in an unmarked clear sachet, packed in a jiffy bag with a business card. “There’s no way I’m eating that” said my wife, before finishing a bowl of it. “I know I’m going to love this” said Eden on the other hand, before deciding she didn’t really like it.
I found it to be a very tasty pesto, smooth with a basil tang. There was no discernable taste or texture of crickets, which I find mildly disappointing, but is absolutely the point. “It is also almost entirely impossible to detect crickets in our sauce”, says the Gryllies website, which I read out loud to Lou to convince her to sit down to dinner. “Since we use cricket powder in our pasta sauce, you will not feel any part of the cricket, as it has been ground up to a fine powder.”
Gryllies approach is to use the nutritional value of crickets, but disguise their presence entirely. It’s a very low key introduction to eating insects, and I suspect that this is the future of insect eating. I’m not sure that most people want to know they’re eating crickets, and using them to pack a nutritional punch to otherwise normal foods is a sensible strategy.
If you’re in the Toronto area, you can pick up Gryllies in a handful of specialist stores. You can buy the tomato sauce , and for the alfredo and the pesto you’ll have to wait for the Kickstarter campaign. You can also get pasta sauce from