For the 20 years of the Christmas market in Agen, Corinne and Patrick, current yearly for the reason that creation of this market, will come for the final time to style their snails.
Patrick’s journey started on the flip of the century. Nothing prompted this carpenter to develop into a snail breeder, producer and processor. It was because of knowledgeable retraining, “I used to be unemployed at the moment”, that he found a program on snail farming on tv. He had simply moved to Saint-Etienne-de-Villeréal, purchased a property with land. “Within the present, the specialists defined that farmers may interact in heliciculture (snail breeding) with a purpose to have extra revenue”. However the factor isn’t that apparent. He then left for the Charente and inquired at INRA, which has an workplace within the division and which is specialised on this moderately explicit sort of breeding. Info taken, Patrick, volunteer, embarks on the breeding of snails with a purpose to market them after cooking. As a result of if a cow, an ox, a hen or a duck requires only some therapies after breeding (until you wish to remodel it and accommodate it your self), the story of a snail, and subsequently of its producer-processor, from discipline to fork, is kind of completely different. The snail has the particularity of being a protracted dish to arrange. Preparation, and extra particularly cleansing, correspond to a succession of operations that are carried out over a interval of a number of days and even a number of weeks. It typically begins with a fasting section, the period of which varies between 15 days and three weeks. The animals are then put to disgorgement in salt or vinegar with a purpose to remove the mucus or the slime. They’re washed abundantly, then brushed, earlier than being scalded for ten minutes (that is European rules within the case of selling) with a purpose to facilitate the shelling. The snails are extracted one after the other from their shells utilizing a small fork and reduce off the half deemed inedible. Then follows an intensive and repeated washing with vinegar water and salt. Together with cleansing the flesh, the shells are additionally fastidiously washed to accommodate the limaçons beforehand cooked in a court-bouillon, and the stuffing.
A gathering in 2005
For a couple of years, Patrick labored alone. “The losses are quite a few with snails. Predators are quite a few and the farms have a really restricted lifespan, round three years. You then should observe your complete manufacturing chain earlier than advertising and marketing them”. And that is the place Corinne Labruni is available in. She took over the administration of the corporate and the brand new couple continued to scour the markets all through France, utilizing traditional or revolutionary recipes. “We went to Paris yearly, to the floating market in September with a purpose to current our merchandise cooked dwell or our preserves. The snails made us journey” explains Corinne. “And for 20 years, we’ve been current on the Christmas market in Agen. Now we have loyal prospects who come to see us to style Patrick’s escargolades or take us canned items.”
However this nice journey is coming to an finish. “Now we have determined to cease our exercise, now could be the time to relaxation and care for your self”.
This Christmas market will undoubtedly be the chance to style the snails of the Dropt valley for the final time.
The various kinds of heliculture
There are completely different strategies of elevating snails. Rearing utterly outdoor (in a park), “Italian type”: the snails are parked exterior on a moderately free and comfortable floor (20 to 100 m2). properly uncovered. An electrical fence isolates the park from predators and prevents snails from escaping. Above-ground breeding, completely in buildings or in greenhouses. Such a breeding makes it attainable to manage the temperature, humidity and lighting and to guard the snails from sure predators. Blended breeding: that is the most typical and consists of guaranteeing replica and probably the beginning of progress. hatchlings in air-conditioned buildings or greenhouses, then the top of progress in outside parks, and naturally, the gathering of untamed snails.