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Baby snails venturing outdoors #nationalescargotday

Sunday 24th May is National Escargot Day and the weather is good enough for the babies to go outside at last. Just keep your fingers crossed we don't get a late frost. The plants in the pens have grown really well just in the last week or two. I've got a mix of self-seeded perpetual spinach like last year but also broccoli and oil seed rape. I tried planting the rape last year so I would have good sized vegetation earlier but it didn't germinate. #Note to self: plant oil seed rape earlier this year!

venturing out May 2015 If you've never tried eating snails then Cafe Rouge have a special offer on Sunday. Just go in and ask and they'll give you a sample pot of their delicious escargots to taste #rougesnails. Now there's an opportunity you can't refuse!

But there's a lot more to snails than garlic butter. I'm sure I've already given you my recipe for snail pizza in Molluscs and Me but if you haven't seen it just improvise. We matched the soft cooked snails with purple sprouting broccoli. But it could be asparagus as that's in season now and then we added blue cheese. I'm a goat's cheese fan and I really like to support UK food producers so instead of gorgonzola, I've got some Ribblesdale blue in my fridge which is just as creamy smooth and delicious. It's a wonderful combination.

Happy National Escargot Day to you all!

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UK's first snail sommelier @CafeRougeTweet

Embedded image permalink To celebrate the launch of their new menu Cafe Rouge appointed me the UK's first snail sommelier and asked me to help promote their new dish Ragout d'Escargots. Snails go very well with mushrooms and I predict the addition of truffle oil will make it irresistible.

Snails are so good for you! They don't store fat - though serving them in lashings of garlic butter probably cancels that out. But they are solid protein and full of good things like trace elements and vitamins.

Sommelier is a lovely word that I just had to look up. You probably associate it with wine but in Japan it is linked with other good things to eat. There you will find beer, sake and even vegetable sommeliers. I have read that they also apply the term to other sorts of experts such as music: in Japan you could be a music sommelier. But the derivation is so old that the modern usage has moved a long way from it. In Middle French it is associated with the transportation of supplies and dates back to a time when transport of goods used pack animals like donkeys. So in old Provencal a saumalier was a pack animal driver. I like the sound of that.

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