10 things to know about … cicada ice cream

10 things to know about … cicada ice cream

The cicada invasion of 2021 may have left many residents of Princeton, New Jersey, making mental notes to move before the next 17-year cycle hits in 2038. But for Matt Errico ’96 and Gabrielle Carbone ’98, owners of The Bent Spoon, an ice cream shop in the town’s Palmer Square, it provided a chance to create a summertime treat that was not only daring, but delicious enough to sell out within minutes.

  1. Errico and Carbone first considered making a cicada-flavored ice cream when the insects were around in 2004. But The Bent Spoon had just opened a few weeks prior, and they didn’t want to turn off new customers.
  2. In 2021, just before Brood X returned, they shared an April Fool’s Day Instagram post featuring “cicada crunch” ice cream, where the pair admitted that the idea wasn’t so farfetched. They unveiled their official cicada-infused ice cream on June 4.
  3. Featuring the cicadas wasn’t done for shock value. Instead, it was created as an homage to the insect and to raise awareness about its sustainability and nutritional benefits.
  4. The Bent Spoon uses only the best quality ingredients in its ice cream, so the top priority was to collect cicadas from land and trees that were pesticide-free.
  5. Collecting the critters wasn’t easy. Errico and Carbone used ladders and nets to reach into trees and collect the insects. It took them almost three hours to gather enough.
  6. Back at the shop, the cicadas were frozen, blanched, and then dried. Next, the wings and legs, which aren’t quite as tasty as the bodies, were removed.
  7. The cicadas were ground into a powder using a mortar and pestle and then added into tempered chocolate. That mixture was chopped up and added to a vanilla bean ice cream. The resulting recipe? Cicada chocolate chip.
  8. Cicada chocolate chip was possibly the rarest flavor they’ve ever offered, but The Bent Spoon is known for making unique and surprising flavors, including oyster, lobster, and asparagus ice cream.
  9. Turns out, customers loved it. The ice cream sold out online in the first hour, and walkup customers the next day consumed the rest in 15 minutes.
  10. The flavor profile of a cicada? Unsurprisingly, earthy, says Carbone: “It’s a beautiful combination when added with the chocolate. It was delicious.”

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