Snail Caviar Is Toast Of French Culinary World

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Balls of Culinary Bliss

He is a former builder who once made a living fitting kitchens. Now Dominique Pierru is being hailed as a gastronomic genius after creating a delicacy likely to mark the history of Gallic cuisine — snail caviar.

France may be the land of l’escargot but never before had anyone come up with a recipe for gastropod eggs capable of satisfying the most demanding palates. Pierru took three years to develop the product after abandoning his fitted-kitchen business to buy a snail farm in Picardy, northern France, in 2004.

He had to find a way of softening the eggs, of conditioning them and of persuading his 180,000 snails to lay enough to make the business viable. The result is being hailed as a triumph, earning widespread acclaim in France and elsewhere, and a place on menus of three-star restaurants as well as an order from Harrods in London.

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