10 June 2017

The ghost snail

I've seen this snail three or four times over the past year or so. It looks like a ghost, I think. But it is not, and it is not an albino. It lives near a small water hole on the edge of the vineyard, near woods. Besides the day when there were two of them out there, it's the only one I've ever seen. I've read that the lifespan of a snail like this one is 3 years in the wild, but as long as 10 years in captivity.

It's the snail called the escargot de Bourgogne or « le gros blanc ». It's bigger than the snails we see mostly around here, which are called « petits gris » and are much more plentiful. Both species are edible. At 30 to 45 grams (1 to 1½ oz.), the Burgundy snail is two to three times bigger than its little cousin.

It's illegal in France to gather gros blancs snails during their reproductive cycle, from April through the end of June. They are protected and they are difficult to raise commercially, they say. Snails have been consumed by humans since prehistoric times, and they were a Roman specialty. Here in France, we can buy snails in cans or frozen, and we can also buy frozen garlic-parsley butter that is commonly called « beurre d'escargot ».


  1. How exactly do you cook these? Do you take the insides out, cook them with butter and re stuff ......or what?

    1. All you need to know about escargots. You might find escargots de Brougogne in Greece.

    2. Thanks. Snails in Greece are eaten in a different way and sucked loudly from the shell

    3. I was given a can of « escargots » for my last birthday and I was at a loss to know what to do with them. Now, thanks to your post, I know much more about that French delicacy. When I’m back in Virginia, I’ll have escargots à la crème, the easiest way.

    4. Escargots au vin rouge might be something you'd like.

      Cassolettes d'escargots, sauce au vin rouge

      2 douzaines d'escargots déjà cuits (150 gr)
      50 g d'échalotes
      50 cl de vin rouge (Fitou, Merlot, Cahors)
      3 grosses échalotes
      1 c. à café de graisse d'oie
      Muscade, thym, laurier
      1 gousse d'ail
      30 g d'oignons
      1 c. à café de fond de veau lié
      200 g de beurre
      4 toast de pain juste grillés
      Poivre du moulin

      Verser le vin dans une casserole avec les échalotes et les oignons émincés, la gousse d'ail, les herbes et porter à ébullition. Flamber, puis réduire à mi-couvert.

      Placer les escargots dans la réduction épaissie. Cuire quelques minutes.

      Filtrer la réduction et reporter à ébullition. Ajouter le fond de veau en fouettant. Monter avec le beurre. Puis replacer les escargots dans la sauce.

      Faire sauter dans la graisse d'oie les grosses échalotes fendues en deux dans la longueur. Saler, poivrer. Servir sur un toast grillé avec les échalotes à peine cuites.

      That might be a little complicated but there are some good ideas in it.

    5. Yes, I’d like this recipe, especially if somebody else did it for me :—)

      Since I love onions, I was also thinking of a Soubise sauce, with shallots, white wine and some grated Comté, if available. That’s not too complicated.

  2. Hello Ken - I haven't commented on your blog before, but I have been reading it for a while now. I come over every day from the link on Walt's blog. Wanted to let you know that your clafoutis recipe inspired me to bake a mango clafoutis yesterday. It is so easy to make, looks beautiful, and - most importantly - tastes delicious. I will be using this one again. Thanks for translating from the French. Cheers, Wilma from Belize

    1. Glad to hear from you, Wilma. Wondering if you used cherries or some other fruit...

    2. just cut up chunks of mango. Cherries are hard to come by around here.

  3. What a pretty snail !

    That is so nice, that Wilma, used your recipe .. now I want to try it :)


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