Two billion people in the world consume insects. Not out of necessity, but based on taste. In Québec, however, and as popular as local gastronomy happens to be, entomophilic gastronomy hasn’t managed to arouse much enthusiasm. Nevertheless, we’re talking about tasty, nutritious and sustainable food!
New flavors to explore
With more than two thousand species of edible insects, a huge range of flavors and textures opens up to food lovers. From touches of roasted nuts to the taste of shrimp by way of popcorn notes, there’s a vast creative territory to be explored in gastronomy – just the thing to ignite the passion of top chefs.
Excellent nutritional value
The nutritional value of insects is widely recognized by now. Besides having a high protein content, they’re also an excellent source of fiber and essential amino acids, in addition to supplying multiple vitamins and minerals. They therefore add considerably to recipes on the basis of their nutritional qualities alone.
A responsible food
Society is well aware of the many arguments in favor of entomophagy, the practice that consists of eating insects. If insects were integrated into our diet, the use of agricultural land would be greatly reduced and there would be a direct impact on the environment. The rearing of mealworms, for example, generates 376 times less CO2 than raising cattle of an equivalent weight. On top of that, rearing mealworms requires five times less water than raising cattle.
A circular economy
We also know that mealworm larvae could convert up to 1.3 billion tonnes of waste a year. Which means hitting two targets with one stone: in addition to ridding us of our food waste, mealworm larvae can then be cooked and eaten! And to complete the cycle, the residues from rearing them can be used as industrial fertilizer. Entomophagy is therefore a powerful model of a circular economy.
An experience within our reach
All the benefits of insects for health and the environment still don’t seem to have convinced most people. An important key to change is by way of cuisine. Which is why people in this part of the world have to be led to taste products from this part of the world, products that integrate insects and that taste good. And that incidentally is what chef Daniel Vézina developed in the EntomoMiam adventure, at the request of the Insectarium. As an introduction to entomophilic gastronomy, waiting to be discovered is a tasting box that contains a tapenade with mealworms, shortbreads with crickets, almonds with grasshopper-lime salt, and other delicacies featuring insects. Because when things are appreciated, we come to respect them – and it’s that respect that will contribute to the development of an entomophilic society!