Essento Insects Dinner
Since a couple of months, it is legal and possible to buy insects for food in Zwitzerland. You can actually jump into a supermarket and buy some mealworm patties or locust falafel. Can you imagine?
Some years ago, when I went to the famous NOMA restaurant in Copenhagen, I had the pleasure to eat ants and crickets, So I am ok about eating bugs.. yeah BUGS!
I was invited by Visit Zürich to their food week called Food Zürich. And one of the events I signed up for was the "Essento Dinner - Insekten Genuss" by Pfefferbeere. An Insects Dinner, A full 5 course dinner just using insects. That sounds exciting, right?
The dinner was in a beautiful building, looked like we were in the theater backstage: Raw walls, props, paintings. A very used Atelier. Beautiful.
Waiting for us was a table serving Marius Blanco 2016 and 3 kinds of insects: Mealworms with salt, crickets and locust with curry powder. They were exquisite and super crunchy. like chips or popcorn.
It was an open kitchen, so we could see the guys from Pfefferbeeren work. The first course was pickled quail egg with mealworm "soil", watercress and balsamic pearls. It was a perfect combination of soft and crunchy. The soil was delicious, but it was weird to see the little parts of the worms while eating them. Still, mouth-watering.
Our Sommelier of the evening, Thierry, paired this dish with a swiss wine Chasselas Cru de Champrevéyres, Neuchâtel. Delicately fruity, flowery and silky.
While we were finishing our wine, the kitchen was already busy. They were making little nests that would hold the mealworm and locust soup and next to it, the black mealworm panisse over rape butter. This was absolutely my favorite dish of the evening. The little "brownies" were salty and crunchy outside and soft like melted cheese inside. I wish i had a bucket full of those while watching a movie... just WOW.
We had the same wine as pairing, the sommelier chose this wine because it is so versatile that fits this two courses. a really good match.
And now... There was loads of smoke coming from the plating table. I had to run quickly there to see the magic happening. It reminded me the time I had dinner at the chefs table in Maaemo. loads of Nitrogen making a thick mysterious mist.
This course was kohlrabi ravioli filled with peas cricket and a forest berries gel. I loved the idea of not using pasta to make this ravioli. I will definitely try to recreate this at home. Stay tuned!
The wine pairing for this course was Tremenda from Alicante. Beautiful wine, intensive, with a hint of berries... very elegant.
Some logs starting to arrive and the kitchen was filled with rosemary scent. The grilled locust pinchos were sticking of the logs. There were 3 kinds of beauties: BBQ, Tahini and rosemary. My fave was BBQ. On the side: rosemary potato boats, hazelnut-mayo-salsa and quark. They were served all together in the table, so I am showing you the potato boats still in the pan ;)
The wine of choice was a Petit Verdot from Alicante as well, a strong and intensive wine. My favorite of the night. you could taste a flavour of dark berries in this one.
The cooks started looking like mad scientists and it was time for dessert. Nitrogen clouds started filling the room and we all started making pictures, videos, instagram stories and just going Ohhh-Ahhh. This was ice cream in the making.
Meanwhile the Barolo di Villa a very sweet but delish Recioto della Valpolicella appeared in the table and we couldn't wait for the dessert. It was a brownie with flower pollen and mealworms with a cricket covered in caramel on top. A mealworm-nut ice cream next to it. When we turned around there was spider webs made out of cotton candy and sweet crunchy locusts where hanging from them.
A delicious perfect evening that wasn't missing meat, it tasted marvellous and even tho it was weird to see little legs and heads, it was adventurous and exciting. I cant wait until there is legal to buy insects in Germany.
Thanks again Visit Zurich for let me be part of this gorgeous event!
I am Andrea, or as my friends call me, Jinx. I am a foodie living in Berlin, eating my way through life. Here are my recipes, cooking events, dining experiences and more...