Thursday night, the Museum of Food and Drink (62 Bayard St), a Greenpoint-based non-profit dedicated to examining culinary culture, was alive with the sound of crickets. Except by “sound of crickets” we actually mean the sound of insect delicacies being sampled by guests. MOFAD recently launched a learning series named Spring Spirits, which takes a deep look into special spirits, the process of creating them, and the food that goes along with them. Their first event gave the spotlight to a spirit that is becoming quite poplar: tequila’s smokier, more artisanal oriented cousin, mezcal. Before the tasting portion of the event began, Danny Mena, a top-rated Mexican chef at Hecho En Dumbo, spoke bout mezcal’s fascinating history, which dates back 200 years. He spoke about the process of making mezcal, the life of an agave plant (it’s nocturnal, like many North Brooklynites) and the different regions of Oaxaca that produce mezcal. Mena also discussed ancient traditions of Mexican food, which include learning to love eating insects and the many uses of corn.
The second half of the event involved tastings from three different mezcal makers and munching on crunchy bug-topped bites. The insects that were left in tact to eat as-is were a little hard to swallow, but most of the tasters could get behind the insect salsa as well as sal de gusano, which is a salt made with worms that you are encouraged to dip an orange slice in—definitely a few steps up from an ordinary chaser.