Shop and Live Mediterranean

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What came first, l'escargot or the egg?

Now we're all mature adults here, right? We've been around the block a time or two. Many of us have ventured upon cuisines of many far away lands. Sushi? Been there. Calimari? Done that. Steak Tartare, what about Carpaccio? Ha, you kid. Well how's about escargot - Now before you answer that, let me finish my thought - escargot caviar? Personally speaking, I have to admit that while I savor most every type of fish roe with abandon, I'm more than a bit hesitant about trying that of the oh so chic beloved delicacy of the French, escargot caviar. My trepidations in this case are associated with my, well lets say, 'antipathy' toward the consumption of our land based garden friends, aka, snails. Mind you, I have tried them and even found them to be delicious... Until, I discovered exactly what they were (since, my knowledge of Italian has improved significantly).

I consider myself a modest person. However, I have long prided myself in my sense of neutrality and having an open mind. Therefore, I accept this (personal) challenge to introduce this earthly 'essential' to the minds and possible menus of lovers of excellent culinary goods.

According to legend, snail caviar or 'caviar d'escargot first came on the scene in a few French restaurants in the 1980s, but didn't really catch on with complaints that the pale salmon colored eggs were rather bland in taste. Flash forward to 2004, a young French couple by the surname of Pierrus, quit their contruction and food market stall, jobs, respectively, and paired up in a business capacity to set up a snail farm, and to perfect a recipe for the ultimate 'caviar d'escargot'. For thhe next three years they focused on providing a diet of open air herbs and cereals intended to tenderize the tiny soft pearls without altering their 'subtle autumn flavor with woody notes'. In an interview with Jordane Bertrand of the 'Mail and Guardian Online',
the Pierrus recommend serving the caviar on a sliver of toast, at room temperature, lightly peppered with a touch of sour cream -- and naturally a glass of chilled champagne.' It's completely different from sturgeon caviar, both in terms of appearance and taste," said Dominique Pierru, fresh back from a French food salon where he said the feedback was '95% positive'. Further...

Joel Schaeffer, a top chef from Luxembourg, describes the taste as woody, salty, with a hint of rosemary, well suited to nutty ingredients such as truffle.'We're interested because it's something totally new', he said. 'A lot of diners don't like ordinary caviar, but this they find amazing.' Schaeffer suggests serving the caviar warm in a celeriac soup, or with a thin sliver of truffle, in a cocktail glass layered with creamy celeriac puree and a milk and courgette mousse -- garnished with coriander and toasted rosemary brioche.

According to the same source, snail or escargot caviar retails for about $115 per 50 grams, roughly the same as farmed sturgeon's egg caviar. Many snail farmers occasionally produce a batch of caviar, but the eggs in their raw state have a brittle, slippery shell, while pasteurisation -- used to preserve them -- is thought to spoil their flavor, Dominique Pierru says. After tenderizing the eggs -- the exact process is a trade secret -- the Pierrus plunge them in brine with a dash of rosemary essence to each jar, which allows the caviar to keep unpasteurised for three months.

Gee, this doesn't sound bad at all, even a bit intriguing. The pearlescent dish is scheduled to arrive soon in American boutiques including that of the Caviar Princess. Hmm, shall we discover this pleasure together...

Stay peaceful,


  1. Hi Caviar Princess !
    Nice to read your great blog.
    I can confirm that the caviar d'escargot from the Pierrus definitely taste great and is up there with the best fish caviars !

    I am French, based in London UK and am selling the Pierrus' Snail Caviar in UK & France.
    See more info at &

    Let me know if I can be of any assistance.
    Best Regards :-)

  2. Dear Thierry,

    Thanks for your input. I will indeed visit your Site. I look forward to learning more about this latest culinary discovery.

    Best wishes,