Snails are synonymous with ‘slow’ so it is no surprise that they are the international pin-up stars of the Slow Food movement.
But are they really that slow? How do you farm them? How do you cook them? And most importantly, what do they taste like?
All this and more will be discovered at the next Slow Food Noosa breakfast when Cliff Wilson and Mary Page from Glasshouse Gourmet Snails lift the leaves on this quiet achiever.
The duo has been farming snails since 2008 after they saw a program on snail farming and simply said “why not?”
That was five years ago and they haven’t looked backed. From starting with just 80 snails in a polystyrene box on the verandah, Glasshouse Gourmet Snails today has around 260 square metres of undercover space with 34 pens in two different areas producing up to 96 dozen snails per week.
According to Mary, snails are a lot more than slow movers – they are the oldest form of animal husbandry in the world with superfood qualities and regenerative qualities.
“Most universities have grants for research into the snail serum and there are a lot of natural products on the market that contain snail serum,” she said. “There is a student from the University of the Sunshine Coast who is studying snails for their mystery genes that enable snails to halt the ravages of time.”
Snails as a food source have a long history and this remains the most popular use in modern day cuisine.
Cliff said the taste of a fresh snail was between that of a mussel and a scallop.
“Snails are an acquired taste, however if used fresh and prepared and cooked properly, they can be addictive,” he said. “There is even a use for the snail eggs as white caviar.”
Whether in the traditional butter and garlic sauce or something more adventurous, the popularity of snails is slowly growing.
Slow Food Noosa President Erika Hackett said she was pleased to present such an interesting topic for consumption.
“To go from gluten free grain free to these gentle backyard goodies is what we’re all about – shining a light on a wide range of products and practices that reinforce the slow food philosophy of good, clean and fair,” she said. “Most people don’t know just how good snails are for you and I think they will be surprised at how interesting these little creatures are.”
Venue: Outrigger Little Hastings Street Resort & Spa, Noosa
Date: Thursday 21 March
Time: 7.45am for 8am start
Cost: Slow Food Noosa members: $24; Non Members: $29. Ticket price includes a full buffet breakfast.
Bookings: Bookings are essential. Phone 5474 3711.