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16.-19.1. 2020

International Travel Fair

16.-19.1. 2020

International Fair for Regional Tourism

Extreme gastronomy: Don’t be afraid of experimenting with food. Try crickets or crocodile

January 11th, 2018 

What does a scorpion lollipop taste like? Is snake meat tough? Where does the smelliest fruit in the world come from? The man with the answers to these questions and more is Milan Václavík. Milan began traveling the world years ago in search of extreme gastronomy. He has been focusing on insects since 2011, and before that the Brno-trained chef worked in Austria and England. He will be serving his exotic dishes at the travel fair from January 18th – 21st, 2018 at the Brno Fair Grounds.

“To this day I travel in search of new foods. I experience them directly in the culture they come from,” reveals the chef. “People should free themselves from the habit of not eating particular things. But even I won’t eat everything,” says Václavík, who refused to eat a dog in Vietnam.

If you are not afraid of trying crocodile, scorpion or giant spiders, you can sample exotic specialties from Václavík at the Regiontour festival this January. He will also prepare fresh crickets right in front of visitors. “Insects are amazingly nutritious, they are packed with protein, sometimes up to four-fifths of their weight. They are perfectly common food in most countries of the world, and perhaps will become the food of the future,” predicts Václavík.

Entomophagy, the preparation of insects as food, is common in Africa, Southeast Asia and in northern parts of Latin America. Because of their nutritional value, insects can even save human lives. “People here either consider them a delicacy, or are prejudiced against them,” points out Václavík. The first recipe in Czechoslovakia to feature insects appeared in 1928 in a cookbook written by Luisa Ondráčková. It was for cockchafer soup.

Beginners should be careful when preparing insects at home. It is better to buy beetles or larva from specialized breeders or to breed them at home but only using natural materials.  Outdoors one regularly encounters numerous poisonous or endangered species.

In addition to fried tarantulas or scorpions sautéed in wine, in the F pavilion of the Brno Fair Grounds Václavík also prepares dishes a little more familiar to Central Europeans. “I’ve also traveled through the Middle East. In Northern Iraq the markets have a lovely smell, and of course there is an abundance of excellent Arabian coffee,” says Václavík, who is also familiar with the skill of Lebanese chefs or the cuisine of the Kurds.

Milan Václavík continues to serve his guests an endless array of unusual dishes at Klub cestovatelů (The Traveler’s Club), an Arab-Indian restaurant in Brno. In addition to food they can also enjoy cultural lectures about distant lands from world-renowned travelers. When not cooking, Václavík writes articles on ethnic cuisine and works with David Švejnoha to raise awareness. He also organizes cooking classes for youth focusing on Arab and Indian foods.

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