We’ve heard the rumours that insects are the new protein, but so far bugs have yet to come close to replacing boerewors on South Africans’ plates. Gourmet Grubb, a group of local entrepreneurs with a passion for sustainability are working to fix that. They started with dairy-free ice cream made from insects and now have launched a whole restaurant, where everything on the menu features an ingredient that was once something you’d probably stomp on if you saw it IRL.
Gourmet Grubb is the creation of food scientist Leah Bessa, who studied protein alternatives, Jean Louwrens, whose passion is sustainability, and Llewelyn de Beer who’s the one responsible for making their products look delicious i.e. not like they’re made out of bugs.
It’s no secret that farming animals for meat is unsustainable AF and that protein-rich insects that don’t require acres of land and tons of water are the future. Gourmet Grubb recognises that people are going to be hesitant, however, stating that ‘change takes time and requires incremental steps, even more so when the change centres around what we eat and drink’. That’s why they started with one of the most delicious foods they could think of: ice cream.
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Their signature ice cream is dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free and carb-free, and made from ‘insect milk’ that comes from Black Soldier Fly larvae. You can grab a cone at The Old Biscuit Mill (look for the sign saying ‘Bug Ice Cream’) or order from their online shop. Gourmet Grubb has had a positive response to their surprisingly delicious ice cream, felt that South Africa was ready for more and launched The Insect Experience.
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The Insect Experience is a concept store that has just popped up in the Iron Works shopping centre in Woodstock. Each insect-inspired meal has been created by chef Mario Barnard, who got into creepy crawly cooking after a trip to Thailand. ‘Since I started experimenting with [insect-based] powders and messing with the food and hiding in it in a kind of gourmet way, I’ve found its much easier way to eat,’ Barnard told Business Insider. ‘We try to present it as visual as possible to Westerns to make it easy to eat.’
You can order gourmet delights such as pasta made from insect powder, chickpea black-fly-larvae croquettes, mopani worm hummus, dried meal worms, mopani polenta fries and, of course, their trademark ice cream. You *need* to try the deep-fried dark chocolate ice cream balls.
Another reason why eating insects is looking more and more appealing to us is the cost: they’re hella cheap to farm. Plates at The Insect Experience are around R40 each. For that price, we’ll try everything; even that worm hummus.
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