After being denied the opportunity to feast on cicadas earlier this year, Gothamist staffers were left with a powerful, unsated craving for edible insects. So when new Brooklyn-based company Exo unveiled their new cricket protein bars, we couldn't wait to give these bug bars a try.
Intent on "introducing entomophagy (the eating of insects)" to the wary palates of the West, the company extols the benefits of a bug-eating diet, including the high protein, iron, calcium and amino acid properties of crickets, and also the sustainability of eating insects. They roast and mill fresh crickets into a flour and then mix that flour with almonds, dates, cacao, honey and sea salt to form the protein-rich bars. The recipe is completely free of unnatural sugars, gluten, grains, dairy, soy, artificial preservatives and anything processed.
So they're healthy, we get it, but would anyone actually want to eat them? The company enlisted Michelin-starred chef Kyle Connaughton to formulate their recipe, giving the bars a step up in the flavor department. Here's the Gothamist staff's thoughts on the new snack:
"Reminds me of healthy food—mostly, it felt oat-y and raisin-y, not necessarily buggy." - Jen Chung
"Earthy with a hint of North Brooklyn terroir." - Josh Steele
"Not bad, just kind of tastes like the organic chocolate bars my mother used to try and pass off as dessert when we were kids. The cacao was nice and strong. But it's weird when you have little pieces stuck in your teeth and you have to wonder, is this cricket in my teeth? Or nuts? Hopefully nuts." - Gabrielle Sierra
"Every bite had a weird, chitinous crunch—as if millions of bugs were crying out in terror and were suddenly silenced." - Jake Dobkin
"I want to know what the cricket-to-other stuff ratio is. If a cricket is pulverized into a delicate dust, a few granules of which are sprinkled into a mix of otherwise typical ingredients like chocolate and oats, can we really still call it a 'cricket bar?'" - Lauren Evans
To bring these buggy bars to the masses, Exo has began a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for kitchen equipment and production expenses. The group has until August 28th to raise $20,000, so if you're ready to plunge into the cuisine of the future, step right this way.
Jake Dobkin Eats Cricket Protein Bar For Journalism from Gothamist on Vimeo.