Thursday, 12 May 2011

Entomophagy: Ants

IBA, Colombia — Emerging from the soil this time of year is something Colombian farmers covet more than anything they can grow: big-butt ants.

Known in Spanish as "hormigas culonas," the brown, cockroach-size insects are roasted, salted and eaten like peanuts. Considered a delicacy, they can fetch more than 10 times the price per pound of Colombia’s world-famous coffee.

In northern Santander department, about the only place in Colombia where they flourish, the ants are sometimes used as pizza topping. One enthusiastic chef serves beef tenderloin and pork cutlets drizzled in ant sauce.

The notion of eating ants may trigger the gag reflex so first-timers are advised to instead focus on their earthy, nutty taste and day-old-popcorn texture.

“The more you eat, the more you want to eat,” said farmer Miguel Angel Paez, 25, who has been gathering ants since he was a boy. “The butt is the best part.”
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