Finding out that escargots de Bourgogne are not French is like learning the truth about Santa Claus. Who would have guessed that when you eat a snail called an escargot de Bourgogne, it will have come from eastern Europe?
Now that’s what I call freedom of movement.
I was thinking about this over lunch one day this week as I tucked into a dozen snails, washed down with a glass of Chablis. (That’s one of the advantages of working from home several days a week.)
Apparently, helix pomatia, known as the escargot de Bourgogne, earned its name not because it came from Burgundy but because of the region’s history of using it for culinary purposes.
In fact, in France, they are an endangered species.
Not so in countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, though. There, they are plentiful enough to be collected and sent to France.
France remains the world’s number one consumers of snails. Indeed, some 30,000 tonnes of snails are eaten here each year.
I am doing my bit towards helping the country get its fill of snails.
Another lunchtime this week I branched out beyond the garlic butter with a feuilleté d’escargots à la crème. This pastry parcel of snails in a cream sauce came courtesy of the deli counter at our local Carrefour.
That’s another thing I like about working at home.
“France remains the world’s number one consumers of snails”
What’s grown in France these days is the common garden snail, or helix aspersa, also known as the petit-gris. I gleaned that from an episode of Épicerie Fine recently.
Broadcast on TV5 Monde, each week the show shares two culinary delights from a given area. I watched a fascinating programme about snails and chaource cheese from the Côte des Bar in Burgundy.
It’s fronted by triple Michelin-starred chef Guy Martin. He shares a recipe with you each time – this week it was snail ravioli with, you guessed it, chaource.
Being able to watch shows such as Épicerie Fine is yet another advantage of working from home. But only once I’ve clocked off, you understand…