Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Cricket in the Var

La Motte already shares its street produce.
Actually the headline should read ‘crickets’ but I like the play on words.

Yes, in our neighbouring town of La Motte, a woman called Fanny Marchal is diversifying her wine growing business into raising crickets - and not just ordinary crickets - these are destined for eating.

She is also planning to raise vers de farine (meal worms) for food as well. I am not sure if these are what we know as weevils, but these worms are edible when cooked.
Cédric Auriol shows a tray of meal worms he is raising.
Eating insects and worms is a bit confronting and I can’t see myself ever doing it, but I understand the point, particularly in finding new ways of obtaining protein.

Along with edible algae, insects can be seen as a solution to providing food for the planet, particularly in drought-stricken areas. And it is mainly for ecological reasons that people are looking at this way of eating – after all the French already happily eat snails!

There are almost 1,500 species of edible insects, with crickets the most popular. They are low in fat and calories, but high in protein. Beef of course contains much more protein, but is also high in fat. And it can be a profitable diversification as when they are dehydrated, crickets are even more expensive than truffles, at around 1300 Euros a kilo!
Some of the products made from insects.
Already there is a restaurant in Nice – the Aphrodite - that serves the insects, together with other delicacies, like worms – on its ‘Alternative Food’ menu.

Known as les gourmets ecolos (ecological gourmets), the insects and worms are served as aperos (aperitives).

The worms, which apparently have a flavour similar to hazelnuts, can replace nuts, raisins – even chcocolate chips – in pastries.

Fanny Marchal and husband. Photo: Var Matin.
The chef, who is determined to continue his ‘engagement with the planet’ in working with these alternative ingredients, has paid a high price for his decision to include insects and worms on his menu.
Michelin removed its star from his restaurant, despite it still offering classical ingredients on the principal menu.
Meanwhile, in La Motte, just seven kilometres from Les Arcs, Mme Marchal is confident about her new venture to raise both crickets and worms alongside her vines.

Just two or three pairs of vers de farine can multiply rapidly. The female can lay 200 eggs every two or three weeks, so you can imagine how many you would have by the end of a year, she said.

’I already have a hangar – and I have the space to plant beans to feed them.’



  1. Very interesting Jan! Not sure if I could stomach worms or crickets, but I guess it is all about how they are processed. The French may well be onto something though. I think increasingly the globe will be tested in its ability to feed more and more people. Perhaps they are ahead of their time in such ventures.

  2. When I first saw the title, I thought the French may be into Cricket but that would be a channel too far I think. I am sure anything can be disguised as the Asians are very adept at doing, but it is 'just not cricket pour moi'. Again, if one has no other choice.....
    Very thought provoking Jan.