Every 17 years, millions of Cicada emerge from the ground in order to reproduce. 2021 is one of those years they appear. Where I live, these little insects are everywhere. And even if you don’t see them, you can hear them. But can you eat them? Here are a few places that have had some fun with Cicadas, culinary wise.
Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream
In Arlington, Virginia there is Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream. A classic ice cream shop, it has dozens of their own flavors to choose from. In celebration of the cicadas, they offered sundaes in the form of the insect. These are three scoops of ice cream of your choice with waffle cones for wings and M&Ms for eyes. It is very much a gimmick, but I could not resist.
The ice cream flavors I chose were Chocolate peanut butter, Vanilla chip, and Strawberry. My companion chose Mint chocolate chip, Green tea, and Pistachio. I liked the Chocolate peanut butter the best, as it has a good chocolate flavor and strong notes of peanut butter. The Vanilla chip is very good as well. Of my companion’s choices, the standout is the Green tea. The pistachio is noteworthy in that it is sweet cream ice cream with whole pistachio’s in it. The pistachios were unevenly distributed, with many bites not having any pistachios. That made for some disappointment. I liked it, but my friend did not. (Although, I got more pistachios than she did.) Overall, I found the quality of the ice cream high and the trip out to Arlington worth it.
But Toby’s only provided food in the shape of a Cicada. What about a dish that actually uses the insect itself? For that, you have to turn to Chouquette Chocolates. A French inspired chocolatier, they offered chocolate covered Cicadas. Their name translates as “Sweet Treat” and in France is a term of endearment. Chouquette is only a mail order company; however they are local so I was able to pick up my order in person from their kitchen in Gaithersburg, MD.
I found taste of the dipped cicada dominated by the chocolate, which is of very high quality. Given a choice of milk or dark chocolate, I chose dark. You can also choose the spicing: cinnamon or Old Bay (it is a Maryland company, after all). I went with cinnamon. The result is a strong, chocolatey flavor that is either slightly chewy or slight crunchy, depending on the piece. It makes for a nice snack, as long as you do not think too much about what you are eating.
If insects are not your thing, Chouquette also other choices. These include Cicada themed caramels or Cicada molds. I went with the mold. Dark chocolate filled with marshmallow cream and a bit of peppermint, they are delicious.
I was quite impressed with the quality of the confections from Chouquette. I have no hesitation in recommending any of their products.
There are restaurants in the DC area that have been rumored to have Cicada dishes. Seng Luangrath, the Chef of Thip Khao, had been posting pictures of Cicada recipes to her Instagram page and was rumored to have them on the menu. So I went to the restaurant in search of such a dish. I did not find any and ended up ordering other food. It was still good.
What do you think?
Have you prepared any Cicada recipes? Had one at a restaurant? Or made any Cicada themed creations? If so, please share.