France has many delicacies such as macarons, ratatouille, and frogs legs. But what about eating snails in France? I discovered many years ago (the hard way) that not all snails are alike. They come in many various forms and are served in different ways. So that you know what you’re getting yourself into, here are a few anecdotes.
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Eating Snails In France
The French word for “snail” is “escargot”. Not all snails are edible and it is the land snail that is most often eaten. So do people eat snails? Oh ya…and a ton of them.
I read somewhere that over 500 million snails are eaten in France every year. They are popular hors d’oeuvres for sure. Why do people even eat snails? It likely goes back to prehistoric times when animals provided protein and snails were easy to catch. Through time, they have become a delicacy and are often part of a bigger dish.
Just be sure you order the right snails in France. In addition to the traditional escargot in garlic butter, there is also the bulot, and cargolade.
Traditional Serving Of Snails In Garlic Butter
Cargolades are a specialty of this southern area of France. Collioure is very close to the Spanish border and the dishes in the area are strongly influenced by the Catalan culture. Cargolades are French snails again. These are grilled in their shells on cast iron and when you order a dish, you get about 25 of them!
Once again, they were lacking the garlic butter but on the side was aioli. They were a different experience again. However, I’ve decided (as you can tell from my disappointment in dishes lacking garlic butter) that I prefer the traditional escargot.
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Snails In Paris
Every time I’m in France, I make the effort to have escargots. In Paris, there is a restaurant that I still want to visit. It specializes in this French delicacy and gets excellent reviews. You can order the traditional Burgundy Escargots—6, 12, or 36 snails in garlic butter—or one of their unique dishes (ie. 36 snails served three ways-with garlic, curry, and roquefort).
“L’Escargot Montorgueil” -38 rue Montorgueil, located just north of Les Halles in the 1st arrondissement.
Can You Make Your Own With Garden Snails?
By the way, if you’re wondering if you could just use those snails you find in your garden to make your own “snails in garlic butter”, I’d suggest you make sure they’re safe to eat. Remember, only some land snails are used in cooking!
If you’re interested in trying more unusual foods in France, check out this post: Definitely An Experience Eating These French Foods.
Check out my growing list of unique experiences in France for more ideas: Top 100 Experiences