There I was, in huge dark windowless exposition hall at the Baja California Convention Center just south of Tijuana and north of Rosarito, minding my own business at the 43rd OIV Congress, looking for a wine to enjoy with my pulpo and marlin tacos, when I was challenged to try bugs with bubbles. WHAT?? Not just any bugs, but crickets. And Louise Hurren was waiting to take a picture. So I went for it:
Clearly you can tell from Louise’s picture that I wasn’t so sure. But they were interesting, once I got over the idea of eating crickets, and I loved the bubbles. Once it was explained that the legs were removed to make them easier to eat and that they are only really edible during certain times of the year etc etc and then I realized I really didn’t want to know all that much about the insects, but I did find the bugs to be fun with the bubbles. And I figured the bubbles would be most excellent with my tacos. Which they were. But this is a post about Chapulines and Sherry for Sherry week so keep scrolling past the pictures for more.
So of course, Carlota Montoya, Bug Ambassador (among other qualities) told me I should come back later for the afternoon session, so I went for it. Turned out that session wasn’t Bugs and Baja Bubbles but
Chapulines and Sherry!
Seriously? Sherry? From Jerez, Spain? Yes! Gonzalez Byass sherry which turns out has a strong connection with Domecq, a Baja winery, and yes sherry, not one but 4 kinds of various sweetness and complexity paired with not one, not two, not three but TEN kinds of crickets! Well actually two kinds but five flavors! OMG.
And we were voting to determine which flavor and kind of Chapuline was the best with which sherry!
Thank goodness for new friends because the entire presentation was in Spanish, and my Spanish isn’t that great. But my new friend (and a very important Mexico City wine journalist) Teresa Rodriguez translated about Chapulines, and fortunately, I already know a fair amount about sherry…This would have been a challenging task even in English and with a lot more time on my hands.
A few fun facts about Chapulines that I learned from the presentation:
- one kind the smaller ones taste better, the other kind the larger ones have more flavor
- the size tells you the age (older is bigger)
- they are collected OR cultivated
- they grow in agave plants that are used for mezcal
- they are specific to southern Mexico State of Oaxaca
- crickets are part of the traditional and ancient diet
- they are dehydrated
- they are very nutritious, full fo protein
- they are sustainable
- NOT ALL CRICKETS ARE EDIBLE
And a super fun fact about SHERRY:
Next year’s OIV will be held in Jerez, Spain! Now that’s something to celebrate as I would LOVE to go there!
And I sat next to the gentleman in charge of Sherry at the closing OIV lunch at Domecq which is a winery owned by Gonzalez Byass; he’s the one with the big smile. Clearly next year’s OIV, the 44th, which will focus on digital innovations, will be another exceptional experience. See you there!
Hope you had a chance to enjoy some sherry this week!
Stay tuned for more about Sherry and Chapulines– I asked for extras and got a package plus I saved the ones I didn’t eat and I should be able to get some at a Mexican market because I have sherry samples on the way and I want to do this experiment again. Stay tuned! Subscribe!
PS Check out a few more photos from my instagram post: