I tried to be adventurous when I was in Paris. I ordered snails. Smug in my culinary audacity I was delighted with myself until the snails actually arrived. I had no idea what to do with them. Did I crack their shells open with the nasty looking implements I had been handed or did I pick up the shells with my hands and suck the little critters out? To save you similar mortification the following is the Gourmet Chick guide to how to eat snails.
1. Order your snails with herbed butter (or if you are in France, Escargots au beurre d’herbes) It makes all the difference to the taste.
2. Do not be surprised that the snails actually look like the sort of snails you see in your garden. Try not to think of them as snails, it helps.
3. Get to know your implements. The snails generally arrive on a little metal tray with holes in to keep the snails in place and collect all that herbed butter. You are also presented with a long, thin snail fork and what looks like a double sided mascara curler but is actually a pair of tongs.
4. Use the tongs to hold the snails in place (not to crush the shells!).
5. Use the snail fork (rather than your tounge) to pull the snail out of its shell. They can be slippery little suckers so this can take a bit of work.
6. Savour the taste. Like prawns or any other food that you have to do a bit of work to get to, they are really worth it.
I was served my snails at Mama Shelter in Paris. More on that later.