Trick or treat! Let’s see… Snickers, peanut butter caramels, Smarties, Milky Ways, dung beetles…
And you used to worry about razors in apples.
Coco’s Chocolate Café, 1759 Bardstown Road in the Highlands, makes gorgeous, delectable treats most every day of the year, but Halloween brings out the more unappealing side of confectionery. Of course, “unappealing” is subjective; owner Fred Moore has fun with, well, seasonal ingredients—in this case, insects.
“It’s a turtle chocolate that has a bug on top, and we drizzle it with a little bit of chocolate,” says Moore, who uses grasshoppers, dung beetles, mole crickets (“They’re really disgusting,” he says. “I’ll say no more.”) and regular crickets. The turtle consists of smoky roasted pecans and Coco’s own caramel, and Moore adds a bit of piping to the bug for effect.
Aesthetics aside, chocolate and bug lovers don’t have to worry about cleanliness—and Coco’s isn’t risking its city-issued “A” rating. “These [insects] are raised just for this purpose, so they’re clean, dehydrated and sent to us directly from Thailand,” says Moore. “They’re not, like, tromping through someone’s basement or anything like that. They have to be food grade and free of pesticides.” No kidding.
And who buys these crunchy creations? Says Moore: “A lot of people. This our second year to do it and people ask for it, and so we do it.” He adds that when it comes to snacking on bugs, a lot of women will tend to be more brave then men.
So what’s eating a bug like? According to Moore, “It’s more of a texture and the idea of just the thought of eating a bug.” It doesn’t taste like much, he claims: “It’s crunchy, that’s about it.”
Louisville.com editor Zach Everson agrees. “I was out and craving chocolate and sick of eating all the Halloween candy around the house, so I went over,” he says, choosing a grasshopper. “I ate the wings first, then I bit into the rest of the grasshopper with the chocolate. It was like eating a chip, a vessel for something else.” He apparently enjoyed it so much, he says he will not be submitting a reimbursement form for $2.75 to Louisville.com. [I will be writing it off on my taxes though. – Ed.]
“Throughout the year, we have the privilege of making beautiful chocolates that taste great, and this is our chance to deviate from the norm and make something really disgusting,” Moore says.
“You get the sensation of a bug in your mouth,” he adds. “It sounds crazy, but it’s Halloween. People think, ‘My gosh, what’s wrong with you?’ But people crave different things. We’ll dip anything in chocolate.”
Photo: Courtesy Coco’s Chocolate Café