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These Seattle restaurants serve bugs (on purpose)

Water beetles the size of a Post-It note are on the menu at Nue, a trendy restaurant on Capitol Hill. They’re full-bodied, winged, and you have to suck the meat from their abdomens.

Nearby at Poquitos, an upscale Mexican restaurant, are spicy chapulines, or grasshoppers, that taste vaguely of flour.

And down the hill, about once a year, The Carlile Room has snails on the menu. These are fancy snails, $76 for 8 ounces, and they are raised lovingly at a modest escargotiere on the Olympic Peninsula run by Ric Brewer.

“We’re eating bugs every day whether we know it or not — might as well do it purposefully,” Brewer said. “It’s growing but not quite a huge industry yet. It will be as traditional protein prices go up.”

Some Seattle chefs are experimenting with bugs – full of protein, low in fat, they say – at restaurants across Seattle. Some of these aren’t too surprising (grasshoppers), but others ask more of their diners, like the water beetle, which looks like a cockroach and tastes like an apple Jolly Rancher dipped in salt.

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Why This Company Decided Not to Hide its Biggest ‘Weakness’

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Most protein bars have an image on their wrapper. Gatorade, PowerBar and Nature Valley show the food itself, often coated in chocolate. Clif Bar shows a rock climber. But Exo’s packaging is minimalist, with no image. That’s because its founders feared drawing too much attention to its special ingredient: crickets.

It’s not as if Exo hides anything — “cricket powder” is on the package, though in a smaller font than “protein bar.” But when it launched last year as part of a boomlet of cricket-selling startups, nobody knew what Americans would swallow. So Exo was understated. Then paleo diet and CrossFit enthusiasts embraced crickets, Exo netted $4 million in Series A financing and Exo became a leader in this burgeoning industry.

Read the rest of Jason Plautz article in the entrepreneur magazine

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Tarantulas and chardonnay

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We all know the traditional food pairings with Champagne. Arthur Lambert, a student at the Ecole de Design in Troyes, decided to use a still unusual one for a project but it’s not for the fainthearted.

Les Champagnes de Vignerons had the idea for a competitive exam. They wanted a new promotional accessory for their members Champagne. This challenge was given to 18 second year students at the design school. They worked on their different projects for two months.

Less than half were then chosen to present them to a jury in Epernay earlier in June. These included a plastic Champagne carrier corks with confetti inside them and a board game. The jury tried Champagne ice cream and were also given something quite different to eat.

Arthur seems to have been inspired by the recent trend in entomophagy or insect eating. They have after all six times more protein than chicken. Top restaurants are serving them on their menus. Laithwaite’s Wine prepared a top 10 pairings list in 2014.

Tarantulas go well with chardonnay and scorpions with pinot noir. His project was entitled Eat the Eater. He presented a simple wooden box with dried insects inside in sachets. Pepper seasoned crickets or herb seasoned mealworms are said to go well with a brut Champagne. The seven member jury hesitated to explore these Champagne/insect pairings but quickly found them a winner.

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Insects as a Sustainable Protein Source

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As last week was National Insect Week (UK), FoodIngredientsFirst takes a closer look at insects as an alternative protein, other nutritional values and today’s progression of entomophagy into the western world.

In 2013 the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization stressed that a new approach to food production was crucial if we are to avoid future shortages. Their suggestion was edible insects. It is their sustainability credentials that has lead the UN to highlight insects as the potential future of food, requiring minimal resources to farm and producing substantially less waste than conventional livestock.
Around 2 billion people around the world already consume insects as part of their regular diet due to their high nutritional value, versatility and flavor. The planet’s population is expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050, and current food production will need to almost double. The human consumption of insects is something which has been widely accepted in many parts of the world including China, Thailand and Japan.
Despite the obvious benefits, the western society is yet to adopt the practice on a large scale, but this may be set to change in the next few years.
A growing number of entrepreneurs and researchers in the UK have been looking into our aversion to insects in the food chain and how they can change our minds. With the influence over farming R&D and investment, the UK may well play a pivotal role in developing the infrastructure behind insect farming for the benefit of future generations.
The Woven Network is the UK consortium for Insects as Food and Feed – with a focus on connecting businesses, researchers and others working on the role of insects in the human food chain. The Woven Network have a number of initiatives put in place to promote insects as food and feed.
Read the rest of Elizabeth Kenward’s story in FoodIngredientsFirst
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Grub’s up! How eating insects could benefit health

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Feeling hungry? How about some spicy grasshoppers with a side of buffalo worms? The thought of consuming such a meal might turn your stomach, but the practice of eating insects is common across many areas of the globe, largely due to its nutritional benefits.
Around 2 billion people across the globe include insects in their diet.

According to a 2013 report from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), around 2 billion people worldwide eat insects as part of a traditional diet – a practice known as entomophagy.

Beetles are the most commonly consumed insect, followed by caterpillars, bees, wasps, ants, grasshoppers, locusts, and crickets. All in all, more than 1,900 insect species are considered edible.

Entomophagy is a common practice in many parts of the world, including China, Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and some developing regions of Central and South America.

In the Western world, however, it seems bugs fail to tickle the taste buds; a study published last year in the Journal of Insects as Food and Feed found that 72 percent of Americans are unwilling to consider eating insects.