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Snails at The Miners Arms in Winscombe

A slow reception for edible snails at the Miners Arms

News 9 mins

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TV reporter Clive Gunnell talks to snail gatherer Mr Penley as he searches a dry stone wall. The Miners Arms in Winscombe puts the continental delicacy on the menu but the land mollusc is unpalatable to the owner. Snails a la Winscombe follow the French classic recipe of garlic and herb butter. Snails are cleaned, purged and prepared by boiling and served redressed in the shells. Imperial measures only, they are served by the half-dozen or dozen (as they are in France!)

In France snails are served a la Bourgignonne or in the Burgundy way. The practice of raising snails is called heliciculture and the snail is a land snail although sea snails and freshwater snails are also edible. In times of penury snails are eaten gaining the reputation as a famine food. Although a little chewy they are a source of protein and low in fat and should be washed down with a fine Burgundy wine. African land snails are enormous and grown commercially. Other European, Asian and African countries eat snails. Indeed, most gardeners should also consider eating snails although regrettably not all snails (unlike most plants to a snail) are edible.