Bug Banquet to provide unique culinary experience

SAN ANTONIO – No, it’s not an episode of Survivor or Bizarre Foods, but a unique culinary experience presented by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Bexar County.

The agency’s first-ever “Bug Banquet” will be held from 7-9 p.m. Nov. 6 at Clearwater Ranch, 24510 Clearwater Run in San Antonio.

AgriLife Extension will be serving up a truly one-of-a-kind dinner featuring “entomophagy” cuisine,   said Molly Keck, AgriLife Extension entomologist, Bexar County. For the event, various dishes made with insect-based ingredients will be prepared by expert chefs and Bexar County 4-H Food Challenge Teams.

“While they may be a novelty to the American palate and may be considered an odd thing to consume, insects are a diet staple in many other cultures,” Keck said. “As the world’s population increases and land use and natural resources decrease, it is imperative that we come up with better and more innovative ways of feeding ourselves. Insects may be part of that answer.”

Keck said diners will be able to eat under the stars and learn how raising insects is a sustainable form of agriculture while having a surprisingly enjoyable culinary experience.

“Diners will have the opportunity to delight in an expertly prepared four-course meal made with delectable insects and paired with an appropriate cocktail, beer or wine,” she said. “And foods prepared with insects can be pushed to the side for those who do not want to partake.”

The goal of this event is to provide people with an enjoyable, unusual and memorable dining experience while introducing them to a new way of thinking about food and how to obtain protein and nutrition,” she said.

The cost for the Bug Banquet is $35 per individual and $50 per couple. The menu will consist of:

— Fire Ant Queso. Queso blanco seasoned with local peppers and fire ants, paired with Honey Bee Cocktails made with honey from local bees.
— Candied Pear Salad Greens with roasted mealworms. Mealworms add a nutty flavor to a sweet salad with local greens. Paired with local craft beer, Texican Lager.
— Goat Cheese Quesadillas with roasted sweet potatoes and squash from local garden. The tortillas are made with high-protein cricket flour, filled with Texas goat cheese and locally grown sweet potatoes. Paired with Texican Lager.
— Chocolate-covered Strawberries garnished with toasted coconut cricket granola. Paired with Cranapple Chardonnay from Helotes Creek Winery.

To register, go to https://agriliferegister.tamu.edu/BexarCounty.

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