Deutsch: Schnecke / Español: Caracol / Português: Caracol / Français: Escargot / Italiano: Lumaca

Snail refers to the edible land snails commonly used in cuisine, particularly known for their use in French cuisine where they are called escargot. Snails are considered a delicacy and are often prepared with garlic, butter, and parsley.


Snails, specifically the species Helix pomatia (Roman snail), Helix aspersa (garden snail), and Achatina fulica (giant African snail), are commonly consumed in various culinary traditions. The preparation of snails for consumption involves purging, cleaning, and cooking them. They are typically cooked with a mixture of garlic, butter, and parsley, and served as an appetizer.

Historically, snails have been eaten since ancient times, with evidence of their consumption in Roman and Greek cultures. They were considered a luxurious food item due to their labor-intensive preparation and unique flavor.

In modern cuisine, snails are particularly popular in France, where escargot is a celebrated dish. However, they are also consumed in other parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Snails are valued for their tender meat and the way they absorb flavors during cooking.

Legally, the harvesting, farming, and sale of snails are regulated to ensure food safety. Regulations include guidelines for snail farming practices, hygiene standards, and proper handling to prevent contamination and ensure quality.

Special Characteristics

Snails have unique characteristics that make them distinct in the culinary world:

  • Texture: When properly cooked, snail meat is tender and has a texture similar to that of seafood.
  • Flavor: Snails have a mild flavor that readily absorbs the seasonings and sauces they are cooked with.
  • Nutritional Value: Snails are low in fat and high in protein, iron, and magnesium, making them a nutritious food choice.

Application Areas

Snails are used in various culinary contexts:

  • Appetizers: Snails are commonly served as a starter, especially in French cuisine.
  • Main Courses: In some cultures, snails are used in stews and soups.
  • Gourmet Dishes: High-end restaurants often feature snail dishes as part of their gourmet offerings.
  • Ethnic Cuisine: Snails are a traditional food in several cultures, including French, Spanish, and West African cuisines.

Well-Known Examples

  • Escargot de Bourgogne: A classic French dish where snails are cooked with garlic, butter, and parsley, and served in their shells.
  • Caracoles a la Madrileña: A Spanish dish featuring snails cooked in a rich, spiced tomato sauce.
  • Snail Soup: A traditional dish in Ghana and Nigeria, where snails are cooked in a flavorful broth with vegetables and spices.
  • Butter and Herb Snails: A popular variation where snails are baked with a mixture of herbs, garlic, and butter, often served with bread.

Treatment and Risks

While consuming snails can be a delightful culinary experience, there are some potential risks and considerations:

  • Purging: Snails must be purged of their intestinal contents to ensure they are safe to eat. This involves feeding them a diet of clean foods or fasting them for a period.
  • Cooking: Proper cooking is essential to kill any parasites or bacteria that snails may carry. Snails should be cooked thoroughly before consumption.
  • Allergies: Although rare, some people may be allergic to snail proteins.
  • Sourcing: It's important to source snails from reputable suppliers to ensure they have been farmed or harvested under safe conditions.

Similar Terms

  • Escargot: The French term specifically used for edible land snails.
  • Sea Snails: Marine snails that are also consumed in various cuisines, distinct from land snails.
  • Abalone: A type of edible sea snail with a distinctive shell, often considered a delicacy in Asian cuisines.
  • Conch: Another type of sea snail commonly used in Caribbean and Mediterranean dishes.

Articles with 'Snail' in the title

  • Burgundy (Snail): Burgundy (Snail) : Burgundy Snail or Helix pomatia linné refers to one of the most known and edible snail. It also is called by the following names: the Roman snail- Apple snail- Lunar- La Vignaiola- Weinbergschnecke in German and the Fr . . .


Snail, particularly in the form of escargot, is a unique and delicately flavored food enjoyed in various cuisines around the world. Known for its tender texture and ability to absorb flavors, snail meat is often prepared with garlic, butter, and herbs. While historically consumed for centuries, snails require careful preparation to ensure they are safe and enjoyable to eat. Their presence in gourmet dishes and ethnic cuisines underscores their versatility and cultural significance in the culinary world.


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