The man will definitely get straight to the point. “Do you dare?” Thomas Micolino asks challengingly when you enter his ice cream parlour. The question relates to the contents of the metal container that is waiting for customers at the far left of the counter. Four kilos of fresh, light brown ice cream lie there, draped on a green artificial turf, carefully separated from the rest of the usual varieties, Malaga, mango and chocolate. Safety distance from the special ice cream – so that the guests are not disgusted.

A mix-up is impossible anyway. The special ice cream is topped with dried brown insects. Dead crickets with prickly hind legs and long feelers adorn the ice cream. To make it clear that that’s exactly what’s in it: dried house crickets, Acheta domesticus, house crickets. In any other kitchen, you would call the exterminator after a short cry at the sight of this. With Thomas Micolino one hears the question: “Waffle or cup?”

Micolino, 33 years old, runs a rather unusual ice cream parlor in the middle of the market square in tranquil Rottenburg am Neckar, between the Swabian Jura and the Black Forest. Again and again he caused a stir with his creations. Once he made an ice cream flavor with real gold leaf (“I had to stop again, four euros a scoop was too expensive for many”), and he also offered Gorgonzola and liver sausage as flavors. Now he produces ice from insects.

Why? Mainly because Micolino is now allowed by law. House crickets have been allowed to be used in food under EU law for a few days. The crispy crawling creatures can now be frozen, dried or used as a powder, as can the larvae of the grain mold beetle. Similar rules already exist for locusts and flour beetle larvae.

Insects are considered nutritious and rich in protein, they are part of the usual cuisine in many countries. The Hamburg consumer advice center has so far spoken of a very small niche market. But insects can contribute to a sustainable diet because they can be bred in a relatively resource-saving manner. “This will play a major role in feeding humanity in the future,” says Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens).

Micolino claims that he has the first German ice cream parlor with insect ice cream, which is difficult to verify. It’s not supposed to be a marketing gimmick, he was simply driven by the desire to experiment. He himself has tried insects on vacation, including snakes and crocodiles, he reports. “I get bored doing the same thing over and over.” For months he tried around in his small ice cream factory in the back room, worked on the right composition with the crawling animal, refined the taste. He obtains the crickets from a local breeder and boils the powder again at 90 degrees. To make four kilos of ice cream, he needs 200 grams of cricket flour, plus cream, sugar, milk, vanilla, cookies and wild honey from the Black Forest.

But of course the ice cream seller is happy about the attention for his little shop. After an Instagram post about the insect ice cream, the local newspaper got in touch, and since then the journalists have been taking turns. He actually only wanted to offer his insect milk ice cream for a few days, but now he’s extending the campaign due to the rush. Customers vacillate between curiosity and disgust. An elderly gentleman walks into the ice cream parlor and introduces himself as Micolino’s neighbor. “I found two dead mice outside,” he calls out happily and grins. “Shall we make ice cream out of it too?” He himself prefers to eat schnitzel and spaetzle, he says. But the Micolino has courage.

Many customers want to try at least once. “Otherwise I can’t have a say,” says one, who is happily licking a portion of cricket ice cream out of a cone. He says he wouldn’t go to the jungle camp, but he doesn’t find a little bit of insect ice cream disgusting. “As long as no eyes are looking at me,” he says. It tastes nutty. “Oat flakes, a bit bitter,” says another customer.

So far, no one who has tried has been disappointed, reports Micolino. But the reaction is by no means all positive. Outraged followers on social media have canceled their customers. He presents an angry email on his cell phone. “Do you have to do every sh…?” someone writes to him. The ice cream seller can’t understand that, after all he doesn’t force people to do it, he says. “It’s just a mind thing.” Anyone who is against it should come and try it. He even lures his customers with an offer: everyone who orders a scoop of insect ice cream gets a second scoop of their choice.