From: #flymeto | Jun 20, 2019
That snails are eaten is not new. Nevertheless, it seems that as soon as it comes to breaking bread, the Czech withdraws into a conservative shell before this delicacy. While the average Frenchman consumes about half a kilo of snail per year, ten Czechs will be ten grams. Nevertheless, our republic is one of the largest snail growers and exporters in Europe. We keep them, but we grimace ourselves. But it was not always so. According to the director of the Association of Czech Hotels and Restaurants Václav Stárek, it is said to improve, albeit compared to the outside world, so to speak snail pace.
Snail “diet” for daddy Masaryk
You can find several recipes for snails in the renowned cookbook of good old Magdalena Rettigová. Would you like snails in Old Czech with horseradish and apples, or perhaps in Prague, ie roasted with English bacon and covered with a Dutch sauce? Moreover, during the First Republic, snails were not considered meat. For our great-grandfathers, therefore, they were a welcome opportunity to supplement the diet with valuable proteins during the fast. 100 g of snail contains 75% of proteins, only 15 g of fat, plus iron, magnesium and phosphorus, and together we are talking about only 70 calories. So snails are healthy and even dietary.
How does a snail taste
Opponents of snails revel in that snails evoke in them a dislike of mushrooms. Yes - snails and mushrooms have only one leg. But here the similarity ends. The snail’s meat is very tender, resembling something between mussels and stiff beef. The gourmets who like him, in addition to muscular legs, also snail liver and the sweetest even caviar. Snails reached the gourmet tables in the 19th century. Until then, they had paid for the food of the poor. Like salmon - Prague maids had salmon on their plates so often that they even agreed in the contracts that they should not be on the menu more than four times a week.
French + snails = VSL
Excavations of roasted snail shells near the southern French town of Folcalquier revealed that the love of the French people for snails has surprisingly deep roots. Historians believe that in the pens at their homes fed snails 11,000 years ago. This discovery would mean that snails are the oldest animals that a man kept for meat. And why not? The animal is undemanding both for space, for feeding and reproduction, and if you run away, you can catch up with it or track down the silver slimy path. Maybe that’s why he tore his bag of snail farms today. The second is, unfortunately, that thirty thousand tons of snails are not just collected in the meadow. The French brought their greedy love to eat their beloved escargot to the brink of perdition. Today the snail is registered in the Red Book of endangered species and its collection in the wild is governed by strict rules similar to the hunting season.
Farms where snails graze
There are currently around two hundred snail farms in France. They hold up to fifteen Helix snails. The most delicious is the snail or spotted snail, but they behave rarely on farms, because slaughter sizes grow up after three years. Therefore, most often you will find farms focused on snails, who weigh the required 10 g already in three months, when they can even reproduce. You will also find it under the name caviar snail, because it produces larger eggs used for caviar. Breeding takes place in buildings with artificially maintained microclimate, tunnel houses and greenhouses and outdoors. Soil quality, ie slightly calcareous earth with 80% humidity and more than 80% air humidity at an ideal temperature of 15 to 25 ° C, is especially important for the proper development of the auger. If the snail is cold or too hot, it wads against climatic adversity in the house where no one can reach him.
How about having a snail like that? Sne-sne-sne-sne-sne-snail?
The French themselves procure only 5 tons of snail blanks per year. Other snails are imported. For example, 95% of our snail farm production goes to French restaurant tables and markets. As the French are the largest consumers of snail meat in the world, they import most from Greece and Turkey. They are mainly supplied to the top of the season, ie Christmas, because snails on the Christmas Eve board simply must not be missing. The recipe that every chef can handle blindly are the traditional snails of Burgundy. You must not deny them in a French restaurant. Boil in broth, drizzle with lemon juice and white wine, cram again into shells, thoroughly capped with herb butter with parsley and garlic, roast in the oven. Prepare to get special cutlery too - hold the shell with a pair of pliers and roll the meat with a long, sharp-toothed fork. When asked where to get snails in France, we answer - anywhere. In Paris, however, head straight to the famous bistro L'Escargot Montorgueil, where the statue of a snail pokes corners at the entrance.