Tasting review : Micronutris shortbread with edible insects

Hello everyone!

For today, it’s the review of my third Micronutris product. I already tried their dried cricket a few months ago and later I tried their seasoned mealworms and crickets for aperitif.

This time, I will try a different product from this French company specialized in edible insects. We won’t see them but they are here and for different moments : Some caramel shortbreads for coffee time and some onion shortbreads for aperitif .Obviously both of these products contains some edible insects : they contain some mealworms powder.

micronutris biscuits edible insects entomophagy


My first try with these edible insects shortbreads

I already tried the onion sable at Montreal during the Future Food Group in late august 2014 (Whoa, it’s almost one year…). They were served with wine and cheese and even if the presentation was beautiful, I was a little bit disappointed with the product…

micronutris biscuits edible insects entomophagy wine cheese

Quebec cheese with sable from Micronutris
Photo credit: Jan Keck, 2014.

What were the reasons? Didn’t I really like the product? Did the wine affect my taste? (You know, I’m the kind of person who drinks alcohol once a year, so it can easily “alter my senses”…) Was the recipe not definitive? Did I overeat this evening? Too many questions! Let’s have a real second try and in bonus I will have some caramel sable for the sweetness!


The packaging

I really have no ideas if you’re accustomed with this kind of packaging, but it reminds me the one I can find at my local bakery shop. So, that’s pretty good memories and ideas that come in my mind when I first see the products : Local, sweet, simple, good, authentic.

micronutris biscuits edible insects entomophagy

All of these qualities and attributes are interesting but with edible insects, we expect also some reassurance and little bit of fun. For so, Micronutris added all the information necessary and some colors! Comfort food with reassurance and fun, that’s a good start!

The packaging contains 160 grams of products for the onion sables and 120 grams for the caramel ones. The shelf life is 6 months so no problem, they will be eaten!

Authentic, local, good,serious and a little bit of fun, that’s what I think when I see these products and that also exactly the same impressions I have when I visit the new website of Micronutris.


My second try of these edible insects shortbreads

For the appearance it will be hard for me to have a clear judgement… I have a new box letter and my postman thought that it was a good idea to tear the package instead of ringing at my door. When they are some noble and brittle edible insects shortbread inside, that clearly not the best idea… Even if Micronutris took really care of the packing, they can’t compete against my bruiser postman… So a lot of my sables have suffered but that’s a good reason for eating them!

micronutris biscuits edible insects entomophagy caramel

Let’s get back to the review, now it’s the real deal, my second try! The onion sable is perfectly round and has a nice yellow color. It’s like eating the South-France sun for the aperitif!. The caramel shortbread is darker and has the perfect size and shape for being dipped in your coffee. (Waiter, there are some edible insects in my coffee!)

I have to admit that this tasting experience is quite different… My family is accustomed so I can observe, smell and crack the shortbreads as much as I want.

The texture of these products are good. It’s hard and crispy exactly what you can expect from regular shortbreads. We can see some nice air bubbles on the shiny caramel biscuits and some little onion chips on the matt sables.

micronutris biscuits edible insects entomophagy onion cracker

The smell of the products are not very pronounced and stay mild : A little smell of salt flower here and a little odor of Normandy caramel over there.

For a real condition, I sat in my chaise longue, took a glass of sparkling water with ice and lemon and tried again this onion shortbread. Well, it’s clearly good! As I expected, you can’t really distinguish the mealworms but it’s totally perfect for someone who want to try edible insects for the first time. A nice onion flavor with a little bit of flower salt, I’m conquered!

Adaptation of the environment : Now, I’m sitting in my rocking chair, I have a dark coffee and some nice brown caramel shortbreads. Here again, it goes beyond the edible insects factor, it’s simply a great product so it deserved to be share them with some friends during a break…The caramel flavor is very palatable and it’s a very easy way for trying and enjoying edible insects!

micronutris biscuits edible insects entomophagy caramel

As a conclusion for this second tasting review, I would say that this time it’s definitely positive, these are good shortbreads. (For being sure, I since tried several times, I’m a professional…). Not really tasting the edible insects can be positive or negative, it all depends on what you expect of these products.


Nutritional information

I said that I didn’t taste much the nutty flavor of the mealworms but are they some nutritional benefits of adding grind edible insects into these shortbreads?

Before starting, I would said that shortbreads with or without edible insects inside are still comfort food eaten for pleasure. But it’s still interesting to take a closer look at it! According to the ingredient list, it contains 6% of grind mealworms.

In comparison to regular shortbread, adding 6% of mealworms had doubled the amount of proteins (13% vs 6%) , lower the content in sugar (10% vs 15%) and added some essential fatty acids, so after all that’s not bad and adding edible insects made a real improvement.

micronutris biscuits edible insects entomophagy onion cracker

Another good point, there is no palm oil : Micronutris chose to use non-hydrogenated coconut oil in its onion shortbread recipe and sunflower oil for the caramel shortbreads. Moreover, the caramel is produced in France! For finishing, there are no coloring, nor preservatives. As good as hand-mades!


Conclusion

As a conclusion, I would say that we were conquered by these products (Dear Micronutris, my dad felt in love with these 2 shortbreads, his birthday is on the 23rd of september…) . There are definitely great shortbreads that can be suitable for any little hungry-buggy pleasure. It also showed that adding even only 6% of edible insects into traditional bakery has some real nutritional benefits and didn’t change a lot the taste.

The packaging, the appearance, the recipe and the taste of the product can be a great way to gain new ento-friends. It’s clearly a very appealing way if you want a step-by-step approach with edible insects.

micronutris biscuits edible insects entomophagy cracker

For finishing, I would say these shortbreads could be a great gift (or for yourself, you deserve also some good gifts like that!) just simply because they are great products. As the range of Micronutris products continue to expand, these shortbreads have totally their place in your cart! (I will stick with water when I will eat these products…)


I have not finished yet with Micronutris… I will come back again with a review of their pastas!

Take care and see you soon!

Florian

Flo

Formerly I'm an environmental engineer, personal trainer, fitness nutrition specialist and "Entotarian". In the edible insects industry for five years, I've been consultant for an insect farm, free-lance writer and international speaker .Now in Shenzhen with Livin farms developing the world's first table-top farm. I would say that my life revolves around eating insects.

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8 Responses

  1. Oldskool says:

    These do sound quite nice, even if only ‘tinged’ with edible insects. That could be a viable method of slowly integrating them for the general public. But, for me, the excitement is more about actually experiencing the taste of insects. (especially when I’m always reading about the exotic *new* flavors out there -such as the ascribed depth of Giant Water Bug’s taste.) That said, your writing made these shortbreads sound nonetheless tempting, for some later date. (Best part: the cozy, intimate details of where you sat for each tasting. Totally sold it for me!)

    • Flo says:

      I also prefer seeing the insect for a “total experience” of the 5 senses but for some people it might seems too brutal…

  2. Oldskool says:

    Odd question, maybe with your experience you can answer this:

    Is there thus far an insect /method of cooking insects, that can be cooked up and served like shrimp/prawns? As in, de-shelled, maintaining a meaty texture, NOT requiring frying-until-crispy where you’re eating exoskeleton with tastey film inside. ?

    I recall reading (somewhere) research into using a form of pressure or steam to remove the exoskeletons on a large scale, I’d assumed for something along these lines / this purpose….

    I think this could make an easier transition, if there were a closer parallel between eating land ento and sea ento…. I know *I* would be excited to try such a dish! This is just a fixation for me, when it comes to entomophagy.

    • Flo says:

      I clearly understand what you mean, but I never found any paper or information about it… Maybe, this “de-exeskeletonization” could only work for big species…

      If there is a process for doing it, we could share this land ento sea because it’s sounds also exciting to me!

      • Oldskool says:

        Yeah, that was what I’d been thinking. Sadly, many of the species that seem most viable…. are unappealing to me. Mopane Worm, and such. (Though so-called “Tequilla Worms” do not sound as unappealing.) All the so-called “worms” (yes, I know, larva, not worms) cause in me the ‘ick’ factor to think about that I assume most people suffer when talking about ento in general. So, it of course just means I need to overcome my own prejudices there….

        All that notwithstanding, I did have a thought: All the “de-exeskeletonization” we are talking about could cause waste, which would kind of defeat the purpose… So I tried focusing on what could be done with the exoskeletons. First came the idea of finely powdering them to add to ento flours. Then I wondered, can fermentation of any kind break down chitin? I have read about limited fermented ento products existing, like the much talked about “Cricket Garum”, but then in the video they produced, it was revealed that they ‘cheated’ and added barley or such, so it may not have been breaking down the crickets themselves…. With your background, do you know if fermentation could be used for the exoskeletons themselves? A whole range of products spring to mind made wholly from them, if that were possible…. (“Try our new Tenebrio Miso!”)

        Just a thought.

        • Flo says:

          OMG! Are you in my mind? I was just thinking about an “Insect Miso” yesterday when I was looking at a public lecture of Science and Cooking on Itunes.
          In a study, I found that might interest you : “Chitinase is present in association with other enzymes such as papain and bromelain in some tropical plants” (Crickets infused in pineapple, wonderful no?)

          • Oldskool says:

            Ok, wow! That is NOT just “happy random happenstance”. But, yes, Crickets infused in pineapple does sound great! But, as I am not as knowledgeable in this area as you, does that mean that pineapple acidity breaks down chitin -was Chitinase the enzyme needed to digest chitin? I know pineapple juice is a common marinade for meats, as it tenderizes in that way. But, if pineapple juice could in and of itself break down exoskeletons where they become digestible for us… the sheer ease of integrating them more simply into foods would be amazing!

  3. Oldskool says:

    Probably a mistake to respond to an OLD post, but, I found the link on the process I recalled:
    http://news.discovery.com/animals/edible-insects-getting-to-the-good-stuff-111122.htm

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