Recently my toddler was the end in the garden, and also as all curious toddlers must, he picked up a passing snail and also put it into his mouth.

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“No!” ns cried, pulling miscellaneous slimy and fifty percent munched native his mouth. “We don’t eat snails!”

Well actually, if girlfriend live in France, girlfriend do.

So why room so many civilization eating snails in France? If you’re a tourist, friend are an ext than most likely to watch escargot on the menu and shot it because that the novelty of informing your friend at house that girlfriend ate snails. If you live in France girlfriend will probably prepare escargot à la Bourguignonne for your Christmas eve dinner.

Ancient snails

The eat of snails is nothing new. Snail shells were found in an historical dig in the Benidorm area the Spain, dating to approximately 30,000 year ago, and also there are many other paleolithic sites around the Mediterranean include roasted snail shells.


The Romans are known to have appreciated snails together a delicacy, and raised castle in snail farms. Castle fed the lucky snails wine and barley to do them simply that little bit an ext delectable. In fact, some historians believe the Romans presented the eating of snails come France once Julius Caesar invaded in 58 BC (though historical evidence has snails in the south of the France because that at least 6000 years). The remains of roasted snail shells have also been found in Roman ruins in Provence.

In the middle periods the monasteries took benefit of the popular of eating snails in France and had a monopoly on elevating snails ~ above escargotières or snail ranches (they additionally had a syndicate on vineyards for wine!). The Catholic church even proclaimed the escargots to be a kind of fish so that world would still eat lock on Fridays and also during Lent, once meat was forbidden.


Should friend need food preparation advice in 1393 after capturing your snails, Le Ménagier de Paris was your go-to guidebook:

Limassons, also called escargols (escargots), need to be gathered in the morning. Take it small, young snails through black shells indigenous the vines or the garden, then to wash them in water till they have actually stopped oozing. Then to wash them once in salt and vinegar, and cook them in cook water. Eliminate the snail from the covering with a needle or a pin, climate you must cut off the tail i beg your pardon is black. Wash again, ar in cook water till cooked. Serve the snails on a key or ladle to be consumed with bread. Alternatively, they are much better fried through onion in oil or one more liqueur, after ~ which girlfriend eat castle à la pouldre. This method is because that the well-off people.

Turtles, snails, frogs and also artichokes

In 1543, Étienne de Laigue created a small book called “Noteworthy Treatise concerning the nature of Turtles, Snails, Frogs and also Artichokes”. A bestseller? more than likely not. The was not the only human to uncover the eat of these animals to be strange, but I’m not quite sure why the artichoke, being a vegetable, should be for this reason offensive.


Laigue lauded the medicinal properties that snails and limaces (slugs), noting the they were helpful for curing stomach illnesses. That wrote:

I know snails room ugly, however not so hideous as turtles, no one so vile, and also nothing choose as poisonous; I also know the the ancients ate them, but I can’t expropriate people’s eat them daily, due to the fact that other foods items are more nourishing and also of far better substance.

Laigue was no the only human to find the eating of snails to it is in distasteful, and also the popularity of escargots started to decrease around this time, till snails disappeared turn off the menu altogether.

Oyster snails

It is likely, however, the they to be still spend in assorted parts of France, including the Champagne and Lorraine regions in the north eastern of France.


Troyes, a city in the Champagne region, had a reputation for the ideal escargots, which to be actually described as hûitres champenoise (champagne oysters).

There is not a traveler passing with Troyes in winter, who leaves this city without having tasted at the very least a couple of dozen of ours oysters on land.

The newspaper of Agriculture, 1872

The return the the snail

In may 1814, not lengthy after the loss of Napoleon, the Tsar of Russia Alexander i made an main visit come France. He was obtained by Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord who was the foreign minister under luigi XVIII who had just make his own comeback together monarch after year of exile. Talleyrand to be fortunate to have in his employ among France’s best chefs, Marie-AntoineCarême.

To admire the Tsar v something he had actually likely never consumed before, Carême prepared escargot à la Bourguignonne, or Burgundy snails. Escargots, butter, garlic, parsley. The tsar was totally enraptured through the simple yet delicious dish.

And voila, snails were back on the food selection in Paris. Eating snails in France came to be extremely popular.

Things come know about snails

Can girlfriend eat the snails in your garden? No. You re welcome don’t.

Instead, clock my video clip where i visit the ferme de Fanon whereby they raise and also sell snails because that eating.

Not every snails room edible, and some space poisonous since of what they might have consumed in the garden. The people which room edible room born and also raised on distinct snail farms. They should be purged and cleaned and also usually cooked prior to they have the right to be eaten.

You could take the advice of this 1899 advertisement in i m sorry snail syrup is encourage to relax all the symptom of the typical cold – a runny nose, coughing, sore throat and chest infection.

Eating snails in France today

Julia Child, in her Mastering the arts of French Cooking, proposal this flavoured butter for her snails:

But over there are many other means you deserve to enjoy her escargots. Baked v brie; in a white wine and cream sauce; in a puff pastry; add them to your paella; make a snail salad.

And if you favor caviar however are exhausted of the exact same old beluga, snail caviar is now a thing! It’s additionally known together escargot caviar or escargot pearls. This snails’ egg are taken into consideration a rarity and also a luxury, and also are an ext expensive than farmed ago caviar.

So, have actually you eaten snails in France and also lived come tell the tale? create a comment below and also tell me!

Useful links

This is the attach to the ferme de Fanon wherein I purchase some really delicious snails.

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One the the most well-known snail restaurants in Paris is L’Escargot, wherein you deserve to still go today and also enjoy the best snails in Paris.

If girlfriend are looking for a challenge, this recipe for snail bonbons by Laurie equipment is certain to carry out you through one!

Did you buy some snails yet now you’re not sure which wine come pair castle with?