By Renee Bogatko, Image Credits - supplied
Free ice-cream has done the rounds in Canberra before, with many locals jumping at the chance for some sweet dairy goodness at no cost.
Well, it’s happening again this week, but there’s a catch!
The Economist is offering free ice-cream with insects at pop-up stalls in Canberra, in a bid to “feed the future” and get more people eating protein-rich foods.
So, what kind of bugs are we talking, and where do they come from?
Staff at Australia’s largest edible insect farm, the Edible Bug Shop in Sydney, are suppling up to 15 kilos of insects for the Canberra pop-ups, including crickets, mealworms and ants!
The crunchy additions will be paired with a range of delicious ice-cream flavours, like chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, raspberry and blueberry.
Delicious? Well, the owner of the Edible Bug Shop, Skye Blackburn, seems to think so!
“The flavours look delicious, I wish I could have some, I’ll have to wait till they come to Sydney,” she said.
Skye includes bugs as part of her family’s every day diet.
“I throw some mealworms on my muesli in the morning for the extra protein,” she said.
Her kids are on board too, even asking for mealworms as a post-school snack!
“I make them mealworm chocolate crackles or maybe some cookies. It’s adding a little bit of extra nutrients and protein in there so it’s making the food a bit more nutrient dense for them.”
While there’s many Canberrans that are pretty adventurous when it comes to trying new foods, there’s also many that prefer to stick to the basics, and that’s it.
But even insect-filled ice cream might be too much of an ask for the daring foodies out there – so how does Skye reckon it’ll go down with the locals?
She said the insects don’t actually have a strong flavour, except for the ants.
“The ants have a strong citrus flavour and they have the texture of poppy seeds. So if you’re expecting that kind of texture, it does actually taste really nice and I think they’ve got it paired with a nice citrus ice cream which is fantastic.”
“The crickets and mealworms have a kind-of nutty flavour to them so they are crunchy, they are roasted, but those mild nutty flavours work really well with the creaminess of the ice-cream. It is delicious!”
A regular bug consumer herself, Skye is convinced Canberrans should give it a crack.
“They’re providing the unfamiliar ingredient which is the insects, in a familiar form which is the ice cream, so it kind of gets most people over the line,” she said.
“They have this brain explosion and wonder what they were worried about!”
For anyone who’s a bit nervous, Skye’s reassured Canberrans the insects aren’t alive, and they do comply with Australian food standards.
“They are roasted before they’re added to the ice cream so they’re cooked and they’re crunchy and they taste delicious.”
As it turns out, they’re pretty good for you too!
“The crickets have more calcium than milk, they’ve got more iron that spinach, they’ve got heaps of essential micro nutrients that are kind of hard to find in other forms of your diet,” Skye said.
“They’ve got three times the amount of omega three as salmon and they’ve also got heaps of B12 and B2 vitamins which is a good mood stabiliser, so if you’re feeling a little bit upset, maybe come and try some of the bugs!”
If you’re game Canberra, you can get a taste at the ANU from 10am-5pm on Wednesday February 28 and Friday March 2, and at Garema Place from 10am-6pm on Thursday March 1.