One thing I have never managed to do in France, until now, is visit a snail farm.
Whilst driving to Normandy on Sunday we saw a sign and decided it had to be done on this trip.
We did a quick search and found one of the farms close to us was doing an Open Farm for the bank holiday!
We arrived in time for the tour which was led by the owner Alain Marty who rears 350,000 snails per year. There they can prepare approximately 2000 snails per day!
The snails are fed a combination of cereals, calcium carbonate and vitamins/minerals.
They are put into hibernation in a room – pretty much a fridge – between 5-7 degrees. This essentially puts them to sleep before they are killed. The killing is quick and painless. They are placed into boiling water briefly and then plunged straight into cold water to stop the cooking.
The snails are picked out of their shells and the best shells are kept, cleaned and used for preparation of their Escargots à la bourgogne.
In true French style, their children were extremely involved. Alain's daughter had prepared a snail presentation at school which she presented to us all.
I particularly enjoyed her struggle to pronounce 'spermatozoid' and 'copulation' in front of a group of adults trying with all their power not to laugh. La pauvre.
Last night we feasted on snails of all styles to the point of indigestion. Tasty indigestion.
Today…we do oysters.