Many people ask us here at Chapul where we came up with our unique flavor profiles, since they certainly break the mold of the traditional energy bar flavors (and not simply because of the addition of our signature cricket flour). Recognizing that Chapul bars are just as much a cultural introduction to insect protein as they are a nutritional product, our flavors are inspired by regions of the world that currently, or historically ate insects. As many of you know by now, an estimated 80% of cultures around the globe have insects on the menu in some form, so we had a wide pool to choose from.
First we began with the Thai bar, inspired by the culinary richness of Thailand, which has perhaps has one of the deepest histories of insect farming. In fact, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization is focusing on the region to gain knowledge on insect farming and harvesting techniques developed over many generations (FAO report here) in order to feed our growing global populations. We used the coconut, ginger, and lime flavor profile that make so many Thai dishes as delectable as Tom Kah. We then add that to a gourmet energy bar with an organic date, almond butter, and cashew base, which complement the nutty flavor of our cricket flour well.
Our Aztec bar is inspired by ancient mesoamerican culinary delights from the Aztec culture of Central Mexico. Anecdotes circulate that in Aztecan markets, food vendors would charge more for maize with insects in the kernels, because of the higher nutritional value. Today, chapulines (grasshoppers) are served with chile and lime as a traditional delicacy in the Oaxaca region. Our name Chapul is actually a Nahuatl (language of the Aztecs) word for grasshopper/cricket, which they would sun-dry, then grind into a protein-dense powder, very similar to our cricket flour. We then combine other flavors from the region to create an eye-opening flavor of dark chocolate, coffee, and a anti-oxidant kick of cayenne chili. (Warning: not for the weak of palate.)
Our final bar is the Chaco bar. The name of this bar is inspired by the Chaco people of the Colorado River watershed, the largest pre-Columbian civilization in the area. The Chaco were expert dry-land farmers, who also gathered native insects to supplement their protein intake. The modern all-American flavor profile of peanut butter and chocolate is meant to serve as a reminder to our modern culture that insect-eating was very much a part of our diet in the past. Of course, we couldn’t resist boosting the taste and nutritional quality of the bar with flax seed and cricket flour.
So, in addition to delicious tasting energy bars, we hope that our creations take you on a cultural journey to regions of the world that inspire us here at Chapul.