Slow and steady wins the snail race in France

I ate escargot once. It was a long time ago. I was in France. They were pretty good. Definitely slimy, but not bad. They were drenched in a buttery garlic sauce, if I remember correctly. To me, eating strange foods is one of the great joys of traveling (I always liked this video of EF College Break travelers eating scorpions in Thailand).

I bring up escargot because there was just a big snail race in France. It was the 43rd annual World Snail Racing Championship. As you can see in this video, the competing snails are all placed in the middle of a circular platform and race to the outer edge. Not surprisingly, the race takes on a leisurely pace. The best snails get to compete again next year. Sadly, most of the losing snails are turned into a French delicacy and eaten.

I did a little research on escargot and learned a couple interesting things. I learned that before they are prepared as escargot, snails go through a process called purging. This means the snails’ digestive systems are cleaned out of undesirable stuff, either through fasting or by feeding them a steady diet of wholesome foods. After the purging, the snails are killed, removed from their shells, cooked (usually with garlic butter, chicken stock, or wine), put back in the shells, put on a plate with sauce, and served.

If that doesn’t make you want to eat a snail, I don’t know what will.

Photo: wonderson via Flickr (CC)

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