Paullinia cupana Kunth

IN MANY PARTS OF of the country, such as the Paraíba Valley region in São Paulo, the taste for eating içá ants comes from ancient times. Brazilian writer from São Paulo, Monteiro Lobato, in a letter from 1903 to his friend Godofredo Rangel, said: “It is before me a can of roasted içá ants sent to me from Taubaté. We, people from Taubaté, are ant eaters. They are so good, Rangel.” To prepare the ants, the mandible, wings and legs of the insect are discarded. The body is fried in very hot lard or vegetable oil, and then mixed with manioc flour, to make farofa, or pounded in a mortar with manioc flour, to make paçoca. The içá ants only come out of the anthills for a few days between October and  November, and are picked by hand.