Snails for Supper.
The last time snails were on the menu was a bit of a disaster. On that occasion, Brunyfire and Co. had been applying the force of Ninja in their foraging efforts in the pristine waters of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel…………….off Umbrella Point in beautiful down home Bruny Island – all for a bucketful of Gastropoda molluscs…………….or the common periwinkle – a small edible sea snail, that, despite being boiled in the lightly brined waters of some of the cleanest seas in the Southern Hemisphere………………still tasted terrible. Even for kids, snot on a stick just didn’t do it for them and the Billy’s contents were unceremoniously dumped.
Now, a year or so later, and ensconced in a friend of a friend’s Barcelona apartment for two weeks in August (2015), a long awaited for opportunity arose to track down the Spanish version of this little mollusc. In this case, the Helix pomatia or common, brown garden snail – escargots to the French – caracoles to the Spanish.
Barcelona’s Los Caracoles or Casa Bofarull is a family run restaurant that looks more like an old family home in the Catalan tradition with its maze of small rooms lined with ceramic tiles, wine barrels and hams hanging from the ceiling. Whilst they serve up traditional Catalan dishes that includes spit roast chickens…….……..the speciality of the house are the caracoles.
Looking more like Hogwarts, the inside of Los Caracoles is a labyrinth of rooms on various levels connected by small wooden staircases with snails carved into the handrails…….………and even the bread rolls are snail shaped.With its combination of dark wood, stone, ceramic tiles and signed photographs of celebrities past and present adorning the walls, it creates a strong sense of intimacy – despite the fact it’s hugely popular with the tourists. The cuisine at Los Caracoles is Catalan and apart from the famous roast chicken and snails, other dishes include paellas, fish dishes and a variety of game such as rabbit. However, it was for these little suckers that Brunyfire had arrived early for…… Like most molluscs, these critters are high in protein and low in fat content (if cooked without butter) and are estimated to contain 15% protein, 2.4% fat and about 80% water. Thanks in part to the spicey sauce, they tasted good……
……..pity they’re so unattractive……..