April 20, 2015
Helix pomatia is the quintessential French snail used in escargot dishes (like escargots à la Bourguignonne). In addition to being commercially harvested, these snails also occur naturally all around France.
Many small snails can be collected in wet spring and fall. If they are to be eaten, these snails may be fattened on a diet of grape leaves or a powder of bran or corn flour. The latter is also used to clean the contents of their stomachs before cooking (over a period of 1-2 weeks).
Adult snails measure 5-6 centimeters in diameter. A lip on the entrance to a shell (as illustrated above) indicates the snail has reached its maximum size.
The subject of this snail illustration appeared just off the path on the climb up to Fort de la Bastille in Grenoble, France at the foothills of the Alps. On this rainy day in late April, this and other H. pomatia were incredibly apparent and easy to collect and all measured at their adult size. (Though it is said that snails collected in the fall are of a better taste.)
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