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In May of this year major Swiss supermarkets and other food vendors were authorized to sell insects as food. Locusts, crickets and mealworm are the three new insect protein foods you will find on supermarket shelves.

Switzerland is the first European country to legalise insects as food on a mass scale. Not to worry, like any food product, strict regulations and supervision will apply. For local production, one regulation states that the insects must be raised for several generations before they are ready for human consumption* The guardian Aug 2017.

Most of this new protein will be marketed as burger patties or meatballs, incorporating the ground-up insects with rice, carrot and seasonings to enhance the flavor (or maybe hide it)?

Edible insects have been around for a long time. They are common foodstuffs in Asia and, even here in Switzerland they have been sold legally in small, specialized markets. This new authorization now allows main food retailers to get in on the trend, which seems to be spreading…like an infestation.

bags of bugs

Bugs as food is not new to my family either. A few years ago my husband ordered some vacuum-sealed bags of crickets, ants and grasshoppers from Thailand. My children didn’t think they were that bad. “Taste like chips,” was the expression I remember hearing…I was not convinced. Neither was I brave enough to try them, muttering something about joining a bugs’-right-to-life-group. I did go on a search for these new Swiss patties (mostly to photograph them for this article) but have not yet found them on the supermarket shelves that I visited. Could it be the trend didn’t catch on? Or, perhaps they have sold out! You know, Christmas is coming! In the mean time, we still have several vacuum-sealed bags of insects in our cupboard. I guess once the shock-factor passed, we decided regular potato chips were still pretty good!

On the sweeter side—a new chocolate—proud to be pink

Ruby chocolate cropped

If you need to cleanse your palate after reading the above story, this may help. Swiss scientists have created a new chocolate called “Ruby.” According to the Callebaut official press release, Ruby is the fourth type of chocolate, coming 80 years after the development of white chocolate.

Just to refresh, milk chocolate was created by Swiss chocolatier Daniel Peter with the help of Henri Nestlé in 1875 while white chocolate was developed by the Nestlé Company in the 1930s.

Of course the original chocolate goes way back— to the ancient pre-Olmec and Olmec civilizations of the Americas about 3,700 years ago—only discovered by Europeans in the 16th century.

Ruby chocolate was created by the Zurich-based company Barry Callebaut and is made from the “ruby” cocoa bean (which is not among the three main varieties of cocoa bean…could it be a variation)?

The ruby bean has a pinkish hue and fruity taste and is grown in many parts of the world. The chocolate, which is pink and reported to retain this fruity taste, has taken 14 years to develop and contains no added flavors or colors. Many are lauding it as the “millennial’s chocolate” in an effort to cater to the tastes of this digitally savvy generation. I may not be a millennial, but I am anxious to try it when it reaches the general market, supposedly in February.

What will the Swiss think of next? Hopefully not Ruby-covered ants… ◊

We are a group of international women living in Geneva, Switzerland. If you would like to join the AIWC, please visit our website at http://www.aiwcgeneva.org/