The Montréal Insectarium is proud to unveil its all-new EntomoMiam box to introduce food-lovers to edible-insect gastronomy (entomophagy). Chef-consultant and fine food creator Daniel Vézina was commissioned by Espace pour la vie to develop a gourmet sampling box featuring edible insects and Québec-sourced products in delicious recipes. Teaming up with local producers, he created the EntomoMiam box for the enjoyment of “curious epicureans.” It will be on sale at the Insectarium and at the gift shops of Jardin botanique and Biodôme as of December.
Québec products and edible insects for under the tree
Presented in an attractive gift box (to treat yourself or someone else), the EntomoMiam box contains a variety of sweet and salty products for four people. It will be available just in time for the Holidays, at a cost of $49. Chef Daniel Vézina and his collaborating partners have crafted the following:
- Roasted almonds with grasshopper-lime salt (Maison Pra)
- Tapenade of sun-dried tomatoes, mealworms and dulse seaweed, served with mealworm and seaweed chips (Restaurant Laurie Raphaël, TriCycle and Conserverie du Quartier)
- Bee propolis Pocky sticks to be dipped in Miels d’Anicet honey and a wildflower-mealworm garnish (Miels d’Anicet)
- Pecan, cricket and candy cap mushroom shortbreads (Maison Pra)
- Energy truffles with dried blueberries, pumpkin seeds and mealworms (Restaurant Laurie Raphaël, TriCycle and Boulangerie Jarry)
A new culinary playground
Chef-consultant and fine food creator Daniel Vézina was himself surprised by the delicate taste of edible insects when trying them for the first time. He wanted to combine those flavours with locally-sourced products to feature them in the EntomoMiam box, a concept he was developing for Espace pour la vie. Thus, he teamed up with some Québec producers who weren’t afraid to think outside the box, and together they explored a new culinary playground. That’s how the slightly sweet taste of ants ended up being used to concoct a syrup for making candy, and the delicate hazelnut flavour of mealworms served to create a tapenade and shortbreads. With his partners, Maison Pra (Saint-Jérôme), Conserverie du Quartier (Québec City), Miels d’Anicet (Ferme-Neuve), TriCycle (Montréal), Boulangerie Jarry (Montréal) and restaurant Laurie Raphaël (Québec City), chef Daniel Vézina has created some delicious recipes that are sure to delight your taste buds!
Delicious, healthy and eco-friendly food
In addition to tasting good, edible insects can be part of the solution for a healthy, sustainable diet. They are high in protein and nutritional value, among other qualities. But that’s not all. Insect farming produces less CO2 and uses less water than meat production. For example, raising mealworms generates 376 times less CO2 than cattle farming, for an equivalent weight. It also takes 5 times less water to raise mealworms than it does to raise cattle for an equivalent weight.
Caution: Insect products may not be suitable for people with a shellfish intolerance or allergy. The products are safe for non-allergic individuals.
“I’d like the EntomoMiam box to open new flavour horizons and tantalize people’s taste buds. Changing our eating habits is a big challenge, and I think initiatives like the EntomoMiam box can be a great help in promoting a healthy and sustainable diet,” said Daniel Vézina, chef-consultant and fine food creator.
“In creating the EntomoMiam box, the Insectarium has found yet another way to showcase insects and carve out a place for them in our lives. By including edible insects in our diet, we can go some way in helping to keep our planet healthy. It’s a type of protein “super food” that doesn’t take up much space and can have a positive impact on biodiversity. And, by using less space, less water and fewer pesticides than is needed to produce meat-based food, we free up this space for the benefit of nature and biodiversity, including insects,” said Maxim Larrivée, director of the Montréal Insectarium.
“At Espace pour la vie, our five museums are more than a destination—they’re agents of societal change. By bringing in chef Daniel Vézina to develop the concept of the EntomoMiam box, Espace pour la vie is facilitating the introduction of entomophagic gastronomy while giving impetus to the culinary initiatives of Québec chefs and producers,” stated Julie Jodoin, Director at Espace pour la vie.
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Espace pour la vie is made up of four attractions on the same site: the Biodôme, Insectarium, Jardin botanique and Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan. These four prestigious municipal institutions form Canada’s largest natural science museum complex. Together, they are launching a daring, creative urban movement, encouraging all of us to rethink the connection between humankind and nature and cultivate a new way of living.