Do you know what is recognised each year on 24th May? We won’t blame you if not…
Forget National Brother’s Day and even National Scavenger Hunt Day, for those in the know will tell you that 24th May is a day to celebrate all things snails. National Escargot Day no less is upon us once more and yet at Bellanger, this famous French dish is one that we are pleased to celebrate all year round.
Escargots have undoubtedly experienced a culinary renaissance in Britain in recent years (think Heston Blumenthal’s snail porridge and the rise of snail caviar, yes snail caviar), but they also have a gastronomic history that is centuries old. The Romans were fond of them, introducing snail farming all over their Empire and ever since, cooked land snails have been a regular part of the diet for many European countries, especially France.
There’s no doubt Escargot is a polarising dish and yet it is nonetheless widely considered by many a delicacy. Here, we speak to someone who happens to agree – Bellanger’s Head Chef, Dalmaine Blignaut.
“Snails are like marmite… you either love them or you hate them. Personally, I love them.
Whenever I’m in France or indeed in a French restaurant, I will always order snails if they are on the menu. Not only for the flavour and texture, but also for the theatre of eating them out the shells. There’s something very ‘French’ about it I find.
What makes a good escargot, however, is the way they are prepared. The most common way to serve snails is with garlic butter, but you can also cook them in white wine, which can be equally as tasty. At Bellanger, we serve ours, by la douzaine or la demi-douzane, in the shell with a buttery mix of garlic, parsley, breadcrumbs and a dash of Pernod. Simply delicious!”
So, next time you are in the restaurant, we implore you to try them. You’ll never know you like them until you try them, after all.