Snails: alive, cooked & gilded!
It’s been dry for weeks in the Paris metropolitan area, in the region called “Ile-de-France.” The spring flowers have been exceptional, however, due to the long, wet winter and mild temperatures. To my delight, the dryness means the snails have stayed sealed and “glued” to their hideouts and not eaten much in the garden, yet. But clouds are blowing in and rain has come and gone in short bursts. If it rains tonight, the snails will be out to feast and drink. And, “crunch.”
Ugh, how I hate that sound and the twinge of guilt I suffer when I accidentally step on one in the dark when I come home late. Crunch … sorry! I don’t like living snails …
And I’m not fond of the dead ones either, but many people enjoy a plate of them as an appetizer, my husband among them. I believe that cooking almost anything in butter and garlic makes it palatable, even delicious, so I do understand how folks can eat them. More for you if I abstain.
At number 38 Rue Montorgueil is a traditional French restaurant called L’Escargot, and it has over the door the biggest snail in Paris that I know of—it always makes me smile. A gilded mini-monument. At number 51 is Paris’ oldest pastry shop, Maison Stohrer, which opened in 1730, and is famous for its baba au rhum pastry.
Rue Montorgueil is a typical, lively market street. Other market streets worth a visit include Rue Mouffetard, Rue Daguerre and Rue Cler. All are wonderful to explore and shop in, but this charming snail and the historic pastry shop make Rue Montorgueil one of my favorites.
And now to sum it all up in 17 syllables: