Locaulth

Since we started our trip in Sikkim, we’ve noticed that one ingredient seems to be used in most of our favourite dishes. A white grainy substance that gives the dish a creamy slightly nutty flavor. It took a while to decipher what this ingredient was called.

At first the words sounded Nepalese and so we accepted that we couldn’t understand them. We even tried asking for it once, pronouncing it as they did. Logojee. The waiter corrected us. No logojee, he said, local cheese! We laughed about the misunderstanding and thought of the matter no further. We continued eating this local cheese every chance we had.

In one restaurant they even had it listed on the menu. We laughed at how it was spelled: Locaulth cheese. In fact the whole menu was a little weird. There was this one grainy picture of a disgusting prehistoric looking bug that made us laugh pretty hard. We stopped laughing when the waiter called it a Locaulth though.

Well, turns out, that this Locaulth is an insect that can grow up to 26cm in size. The locals harvest its milk which they in turn transform into cheese. The Locaulth is kept in a warm chamber where it is fed a sumptuous mixture of lichen and dried leaves, then, twice a day it is taken to a cold room where a thick milk-like mucus is collected from its nose. The Locaulth is then taken back to the warm room and the milk is set to dry. The little white granules left over are then salted and ready to be served. They even mix it with marinated green chilies to create a great spicy paste to be spread over their local bread.

Bon appetite, as they say in France!

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