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Edible insects and wine tasting event

An evening of insect snacks and wine tasting is one of the events planned for the Cambridge Science Festival.

Silk worm larvae (7128016)
Silk worm larvae (7128016)

The evening, run by Cambridge University zoololgist Charlotte Payne and wine expert Chris Kaplonski of Anthroenology, will offer a selection of different insects to try paired with a wine to complement their flavours.

The aim is to introduce insects as a sustainable food with a relatively low carbon impact.

Chris said: “Insects can be a sustainable food source, especially if they are picked from the wild rather than intensively farmed. Certainly children in Japan have been known to collect them as a snack on the way to school. People are often surprised at how tasty the insects are.

“My favourite are the silk worm larvae which have quite a meaty flavour – they are lovely on sourdough toast with blue cheese.”

Does the yuck factor put anyone off? Chris said: “The insects some people struggle with are crickets, which obviously look very insect-like. I tell people to close their eyes and just taste the insects. We have some crickets that are barbecue flavoured and they go very well with a white wine or a light red.”

Non-insect snacks will also be available at the event on March 21 but people with shellfish allergies are advised not to eat insects.

Festival tickets went online this week for the 350 talks, shows and workshops – more than 7,000 were snapped up in the first hour.

Festival director Lucy Spokes said: “We are absolutely delighted with the response so far and some events have already sold out. But there are hundreds still available and there really is something for everyone.”

Other food-based events at the festival include, Sugar and spice and all things nice: a journey into taste sensors in the body; and I’m a confused consumer, get me out of here, which reveals how we can make healthy choices in the face of food marketing.

The festival runs March 11-24. Book tickets online at sciencefestival.cam.ac.uk.

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