Lockdown Brits have developed culinary tastes that have seen sales of snails to home cooks soar by 250 per cent, according to a leading supplier.
The French favourite has seen a huge rise in popularity right across the UK with many new customers buying online.
Dorset Snails, which has been breeding and selling the mouth-watering molluscs since 2006, has been surprised by the demand.
While it has always sold to individuals, its main market has been top restaurants, hotels and gastro pubs, which have all been forced to close.
The company supplies the succulent Helix Aspersa Maxima variety, which are cooked for three hours in stock and herbs then sold in shells with garlic and parsley butter.
All orders are freshly prepared and despatched the same day throughout the UK on overnight delivery.
A correctly cooked snail has a texture closely resembling a mushroom. They are usually eaten as a starter but can be incorporated into other dishes, especially steak or fish.
Tony Walker from the award-winning family business near Wimborne said he was surprised by the number of people ordering and is very pleased with the number of re-orders.
He said: “The quality of the product is the same the consumer would receive in a Michelin-starred restaurant.
“Sales to home cooks through our online shop and on Amazon have steadily increased since the first lockdown last March and are up 250 per cent. With restaurants closed and people wishing to replicate a fine dining experience at home our products are a real hit. We expect this trend to continue as more and more customers realise the quality and excellent taste of our snails. Whilst most people think of snails as a French delicacy they have been eaten here since the Romans introduced them."
“They are incredibly tasty with almost zero fat, 19 per cent protein and trace elements that are very good for you. Many who have tried snails in France may have been put off because the vast majority sold there are tinned, which are tough and chewy. Ours are fresh and delicious. UK residents have over recent decades become much more adventurous diners as indicated by the number of ethnic food suppliers now available in most high streets. We anticipate the sales to individuals to continue to increase after lockdown as buying food online has become more popular and a trend which we believe will last.”
Dorset Snails is a winner of the Future Foods ‘farm to fork’ award. The judges said they had never tasted snails as good.