Last month, sommeliers and chefs gathered at the pivotal International Bug & Wine Pairing event held in France. Wine and cheese pairing events are familiar occasions, but for the first time ever, insects replaced cheese on the menu. The menu included pasta gratin with cricket, arugula cream and cashew nuts, and a chocolate pear crumble with cricket granola.
Furthermore, the language used to describe the pairings mimicked the expressions used for a traditional cheese and wine pairing - "Experience the flavor arc of a cricket: leading with a subtle, nutty umami, unfolding into delicate, earthy tone, and ending with a light, savory note. The cricket pairs wonderfully with a medium-bodied red wine".
French gastronomical events are revered worldwide. To have insects presented at an upscale dining experience attended by culinary leaders could alter society's perceptions of bugs as an enjoyable and delicious alternative to meat.
"A big step along the way is to get chefs on board. Chefs are the 'Gate Keepers of Consumer Preference' and continue to expand our cuisines with innovative concepts and eclectic menus... The more we work to explore the flavors and uses of insects in cuisine, the more frequently we might see the occasional salad topped with black ants, margarita glass rimmed with grasshopper salt, or bread baked with cricket powder."