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France Serves Snail Caviar

If you want your guests to linger over an exclusive entree at a festive dinner party, why not try a novelty in slow-food -- snail eggs.

At a snail farm near Soissons, 60 km (40 miles) northeast of Paris, Dominique grows the 'Petit Gris' snail and puts thousands of them in a nursery where they lay around 100 small eggs in a single session just once a year.

Pierru hopes to farm 200 kg (440 lb) of eggs this year, and 600 kg in 2008.

He feeds the snails on greens and powdered cereals, pampering the animals until they lay a small clutch of little white, pearl-like, eggs.

After collecting them and cleaning the eggs in a special hygienic room, Pierru puts them into a brine with special sea salt and some rosemary. Then they are put in jars which are closed in a vacuum.
"It tastes like undergrowth after the rain," Pierru said.

He supplies several restaurants and is getting orders from Japan, Belgium, Australia. With limited supply and rising demand, a jar of 120 grams sells for 200 euros ($290).

Video: Reuters
Source: Reuters
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