The Truth About Cicada Pizza

If you notice it gets a lot louder in your area once every 17 years, then you might be experiencing the sweet, sweet sounds of a cicada serenade. According to the National Park Service, the largest brood of 17-year cicadas, known affectionately as Brood X, can be found in locations centering around Pennsylvania, Virginia, Indiana, and eastern Tennessee. The insects surface in droves to breed, and that permeating sound they make is actually a mating duet — the males sing using a tympanic membrane (making the loudest sounds among all the insects), and the females click their wings in response.

With Brood X making its above-ground tour this year, many chefs and foodies are taking the opportunity to turn these music makers into a meal. When it comes to cooking insects, the culinary opportunities are endless. One candymaker in Maryland made headlines with their chocolate-dipped cicadas, and now, according to Food & Wine, a pizza parlor in Dayton, Ohio, is giving them a run for their money.

A slice of Brood X

The Pizza Bandit got in on the cicada buzz in a big way by making a cicada pizza and hosting a Facebook live tasting panel to try it out. The innovative pie featured hand-tossed dough and a multitude of ingredients like miso hoisin sriracha sauce, mozzarella, provolone, mushrooms, cabbage, green onions, mango, cilantro, a spicy Thai sauce, and cicadas that were locally foraged, blanched, and sautéed, according to their Facebook post. Cicada wings, obviously, were also used to decorate the crust.

The cicada pizza definitely found fans in the tasting panel, but not everyone was completely delighted. One panelist found the visual of the bulky insects on the pie hard to overcome. Another panelist noted a peanut flavor, which makes sense, because according to NBC News, cicadas have a "nutty, pork-like flavor."

According to the Cleveland Clinic, it's safe to eat cicadas. However, certain groups of people should avoid them, including people with shellfish allergies, people who are pregnant or lactating, young children, and anyone at risk for gout. If you're hoping to try out a cicada pizza, though, don't put "Dayton, Ohio" into Waze just yet. Unfortunately, Pizza Bandit isn't selling the winged pies to the public. So, if you want to eat a cicada pizza, you'll have to make one yourself. That makes one Sicilian cicada, coming right up?