Tuesday, October 13, 2009

October 14: Chocolate Covered Insect Day

October 14 is National Chocolate Covered Insect Day. Not my cup of cocoa, but since this is a holiday, I did a little research.

Educational Innovations (a source for teachers) offers Chocolate Covered Insects that are completely edible and farm raised. Yeah, that's what I need to know-- that the insects were farm-raised. They come in single (Bug-350) or Box of 24 packages (Bug-350BX). Each package comes with 4: 2 crickets and 2 larva. Ugh. Description says tastes like chocolate covered popcorn. I'll pass, but if you're feeling adventurous, try them and let me know. From the illustration looks like the insects (and larvae) are covered with white and dark chocolate.

The CandyWarehouse offers packages of Chocolate Covered Insects that seem similar. One thing that any chocolate lover wants to know is the quality of the chocolate. No description except milk chocolate and white chocolate. This website is quite flip. Although the description refers to roaches, I don't think there are any in the pack. But who knows? I found "Chocolate Covered Ants Candy" in the "You Might Also Like" box. I don't think so. I do think the CandyWarehouse needs a new copy writer. I'm not volunteering, but would you want "Gross' in your product copy? Perhaps the owners don't care or haven't read it. Or maybe this whole chocolate covered bug thing is reaching for a completely different sense of aesthetics.

CandyFavorites offers Edible Insects in many different chocolate varieties. I have no fault with their copy, "We are often asked if the edible insects are real and the answer is “yes.” As featured on television reality shows, edible insects are ideal for any occasion in which you want to offer a truly unique treat!" Now, I'm a baker, and I love to entertain, but I just don't know what that special occasion might be. However, for those who are interested, they also have Chocolate Covered Crickets in addition to the standard Chocolate Covered Ants.

My husband Frank was in the Peace Corps in Cote d'Ivoire where much of the cacoa is grown, and even though he often had roasted crickets as treats, he never had chocolate covered ones there. There were plenty of cacoa trees where he lived, but no finished product.

While searching for Chocolate Covered Insects, I found a very interesting recipe for Chocolate Scorpions on the BBC Homepage. Leave it to the Brits! This was listed under Onsite Catering/
Recipes that won’t go down well with a film crew.

Chocolate Scorpions
You will need:
12 dead scorpions
a big bar of chocolate (good quality, fair-trade)
a big pan of boiling water
a big heatproof bowl

Put the chocolate in the bowl, and gently rest it in the pan of boiling water. Once the chocolate has melted, carefully remove it from the water, taking extra care not to burn your fingers. Dip the scorpions in the chocolate, and allow to dry. Now eat. Yummy! (PS: Scorpion stings are not lethal once they’re dead.) Of course, you may not be able to make this if you don't happen to have a few scorpions around or if you're a purist and need to know that the ones you might have are farm-raised. They're probably not.

Searching some more I found a wonderful photo of a tray of chocolate scorpions (see above) on A Yankee-in-Belgrade. Bibi, the Yankee in Belgrade, told me she saw these in the window of a candy store in Pismo Beach (CA) when she was back in the States. My good friend Pierre was in Pismo this past week. Should have asked him to pick me up some. On the other hand, maybe it was just as well I didn't ask.


Addendum: Perhaps I was too glib about insects. Have a look at SmallStock dedicated to a steady supply of foods derived from farmed insects.

Photo: permission of A Yankee-in-Belgrade


Dave said...

Greetings. I'm wondering a bunch of things, but first of all: where did you get the information that 10/13 was designated for this holiday? Who thought this up?
As someone deeply involved in the development of entomophagy, I'm always glad to see the edibility of insects featured, though of course the pairing of bugs with chocolate is kind of a shame. Most bugs taste better prepared in other ways....

~~louise~~ said...

Hi Janet,
Intersting post...
I can't believe I left my Cooking with Insects cookbook in PA. I just know there's a recipe for chocolate covered insects in it. year I suppose. Did you see the post I did a while back about cooking with insects. Some "tasty treats" were included. Happy Chocolate Covered Insect Day!!! (tomorrow:)

Janet Rudolph said...

Louise, how could I have missed your 'tasty treats' entry? I did have the one recipe for chocolate covered spiders, but your cookbook sounds... hmmmm

concrete7 said...


Anonymous said...

Is this the 21st century version of fruitcake?