Scottish hotel adds midge burgers to the summer menu

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They are the scourge of the Scottish summer, feasting on the flesh of anyone seeking to enjoy the great outdoors.

But now holidaymakers are set to bite back with the addition of midge burgers to the menu of an Argyll restaurant.

A hotel in Argyll is adding midge burgers to the menu. Pictures: Pixabay/Free Images

A hotel in Argyll is adding midge burgers to the menu. Pictures: Pixabay/Free Images

David Keat, owner and manager of Brander Lodge hotel and bistro near Oban, came up with the idea when he was preparing a new summer menu with his chefs.

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His team firstly came up with a recipe for “midge fodder burgers” – a vegan dish including leaves and herbs grown in the hotel’s riverside grounds, which are a haven for the insects.

Now they plan to use the midges that are collected in the hotel’s four “mosquito magnet” insect traps to create a version of the fodder burger for carnivores.

Sous chef Connor Hay cooking up the new midge fodder vegan burger, made up of'sweet potato and a variety of leaves and herbs grown in the gardens of Brander Lodge'hotel and bistro. Picture: Moira Kerr

Sous chef Connor Hay cooking up the new midge fodder vegan burger, made up of'sweet potato and a variety of leaves and herbs grown in the gardens of Brander Lodge'hotel and bistro. Picture: Moira Kerr

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Mr Keat said: “We were coming up with a new summer menu and we thought that midges could be an additional alternative to our burgers.

“Then, if you are angry and you want to get your own back on the midges, you can eat them for a change, instead of them eating you.

“The foraged vegan burger is just a nice option from meat, but we are now looking at coating it with midges for the daring carnivores out there, who are daring to take a chance.”

The businessman, who admits the idea began as a joke, said it is not as crazy as it may seem as insects are in vogue as a tasty alternative to more traditional cuisine, with deep fried ants taking off in a big way.

Mr Keat said: “We just thought that, with ants and grasshoppers on menus across the world, Scotland has a ready supply of protein-filled midges. Because of our location we have an ample supply of the wee blighters.

“There is a huge plague of midges this year so there are plenty at our disposal.”

Mr Keat added: “We are now seeking advice via the health authorities and we plan to send a midge burger to be tested, to see if it is fit for eating.”

The midges will be coated on to the outside of the burger, like breadcrumbs, said Mr Keat, adding: “I will cook one of the vegan patties and fry it up out of hours, in my own domestic kitchen, freeze it, and send it away for testing.

“The secret recipe, known only to ourselves, will be divulged with the final ingredients to the testing agency.”

Connor Hay, 21, sous chef at Brander Lodge, said: “I think it’s a good idea if they let us do it. I don’t see why not, nobody else is doing it and they eat insects in other countries.”

As word spread on social media, not everyone shied away from the idea. Marlene Bryce saw it as a tasty way to get your own back on the midges. She wrote: “Yum, sounds absolutely delicious, revenge is sweet.”

Iain MacKinnon, environmental health manager for Argyll and Bute Council, said midge burgers were certainly “an unknown quantity”.

He added: “In principle we have no objection, but it would need to be thoroughly tested and checked before it was served up to humans. You would need to make sure that the cooking process is able to deal with any bacteria and it would need to go to a food science lab, to make sure it’s fit for human consumption.”