A Practical Guide to Eating Escargots


Snails are gaining more and more gastronomic fans all over the world. For several centuries, the grape snail was considered the food of the poor, but during the Renaissance, it gained its former popularity among the nobility and the rich. Today in many elite restaurants in Europe, you can find this French delicacy. But how to eat escargots? Do you need special equipment? To understand how to eat snails properly, read the following rules for serving snails, cutlery and simple etiquette.

How to eat escargot at a restaurant? To eat escargots at a restaurant, the waiters will bring you tongs and a fork with two prongs. Take the shell of the snail with the tongs and take the snail’s meat out of the shell with a fork with two prongs. If snails are not very hot, you can hold the shell with your hands and not with a fork. 

Do you chew or swallow escargot? You can chew escargot just like any other meat to enjoy its taste. Snails have a very soft texture and taste like fried chicken with mushrooms. It is not common to swallow escargot. 

The Right Way to Eat Escargot Video Guide

A Practical Guide to Eating Escargots

Burgundy snails — escargots stuffed with a mixture of butter, garlic and parsley, are served in a round escargot dish with six or twelve cavities. At a restaurant, waiters will bring you tongs and a special fork with two prongs. Take the shell with tongs, and pick up the snail meat with a fork and put it into your mouth as a whole. If the snails are cold, then it is allowed to hold the shell with your hands (although, to be honest, this is not so convenient).

How to eat snails at home? If you don’t have a dish for escargots, tongs and a fork at home, you can serve the snails by placing them tightly with the filling up, shells to each other on the dish, and eat with the help of toothpicks.

How to eat escargot without a snail fork? If you do not have a snail fork, you can eat escargots by simply taking the shell with your hands and taking out the snail meat with a toothpick. You can wrap the shell in a napkin if you want to keep your hands clean. Tongs and a snail fork can be easily replaced with just a simple napkin and a toothpick.

How Do They Eat Snails In Shell?

How to eat escargot in the shell? Escargot eating etiquette allows you to hold the snail with your hands. But for the sake of aesthetics,  you can use tongs to eat snails in the shell. Take the shell with tongs, remove the snail meat with a two-pronged fork. They serve snails with butter, parsley, garlic and chilled Muscat, Tokay and Chablis wine.

Snail cutlery is quite unusual, so it is quite easy to recognize them among others. For snails, they use:

  • A fork with two prongs;
  • Tongs to hold the shell;
  • Flat metal escargot dish.

How is escargot served? Snails are usually served on porcelain plates or metal trays with cavities for six to twelve shells. Sometimes there is space in the middle for a creamy sauce, or it can be served in a separate gravy boat. Waiters will bring you special snail tongs to take shells and narrow two-pronged snail forks to get the meat out.

How to Eat an Escargot | Fine Dining Lovers by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna

In France and in some other countries, they also serve small sea snails cooked in shells, which are called “Littorina ” or “shore snails”. They are smaller and tastier than grape snails and are served with small wooden toothpicks.  As for the drinks, they serve white dry wine with snails, but it can also be brut champagne. Neither wine nor champagne should be too expensive as they just emphasize the taste of oysters.

Can you eat escargot raw? You must not eat escargots raw as they can be infected and must be subject the heat treatment. Snails and slugs must also be thoroughly washed to get all the dust and dirt from them. Snails might carry parasites and deadly diseases, thus you must never eat snails raw.

Snail meat goes well with many components. It can be served in any form: spicy, stewed, fried, wrapped in dough, baked with cheese and butter. But escargot remains the classic recipe for cooking and serving. Butter makes the fillets tender, garlic and parsley add flavor, and serving in a shell makes the dish interesting.

Snails recipes and eating habits differ from country to country. In Spain, they like eating snails with hot sauces, in Bulgaria, they stew snails with vegetables. The Italians add snails to cappelletti (small dumplings), while the French prefer eating snails with butter, garlic and parsley. In Spain, snail dishes are served with an empty saucer and toothpicks. They prefer Helix Aspersa Muller, but it is inconvenient to eat them with a fork. Most often, they take snails with their hands and suck out the meat from the shell, just like the oysters!

Wine, which perfectly accentuates and complements the taste of snails, can be white dry, white semi-sweet, Riesling, sparkling wines, semi-sweet rosé. In some cases, when the main dish combines snail meat with rabbit or turkey fillets, the wine can be red.

Snail Meat Health Benefits

Snail meat contains a huge amount of nutrients that help fight disease or have a preventive effect. This product is recommended for pregnant women, lactating mothers and growing children, as the high calcium content and its easy absorption help to replenish the calcium balance. Snail meat products have no side effects, contraindications or allergic manifestations of the body. Eating shellfish in food will make your diet more varied and healthier.

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