COLUMBIA — When Christian Losciale began his first day of work at Sparky's Homemade Ice Cream on Wednesday, he did not expect to volunteer to de-wing cicadas for a new batch of ice cream.
"Scott Southwick tossed the idea around the other day, so I had some idea, but he figured now was a good chance," Losciale said. Southwick is the owner of Sparky's.
After doing some research and discussion, Sparky's employees got the green light from their boss to incorporate the buzzing insects into their ice cream.
"We always try to push the limit," Sparky's Manager Ashley Nagel said about their flavors.
The new ice cream will soon sit among flavors like Lavender Honey, Cake Batter and Lemon Poppyseed Muffin.
The manager said the new flavor will be easy to spot.
"Most of the wings are off but the top layer has wings so that people know what they are getting into," Nagel said.
To make the ice cream, Sparky's employees collected cicadas from their backyards and brought them in to work on Wednesday. The cicadas are fully cooked through boiling, then covered in brown sugar and milk chocolate. The base ice cream is a brown sugar and butter flavor.
Sparky's patrons Joan Masters and her son Jack Masters, 5, took one look at the ice cream and said they would not try it.
"One landed on me at lunch, and I just screamed," Joan Masters said.
Sparky's workers are hoping patrons will give the insect-inspired flavor a try. It will make its debut in the store on Thursday. For hesitant customers, free samples are available.
"Cicada itself is purely a texture, and the flavor is like a peanut," Losciale said. "It's not that strange because we coated them in so much sugar. It's worth trying."
While the strange looking pests are abundant, the dessert might not be found so easily elsewhere.
"You probably won't find any other ice cream shop in the surrounding states doing this," Losciale said.