Snails are delicious!
Snail cultivation or heliciculture has been around since prehistoric times. The Romans collected snails and put them in special gardens so they could be prepared as food. In the Middle Ages snails were found to have a particular advantage in that, being classified as neither fish nor meat, they could be eaten during Lent . . .
Snails are nocturnal animals which hibernate during the cooler months. Being hermaphrodites, they also have the choice of being mummy or daddy when it comes time to breed. The common garden snail, Helix aspersa, is not indigenous to Australia and is thought to have been imported accidentally in packing cases and shipping containers. Most snails sold as food in Australia have historically been of the tinned variety, sourced from Eastern Europe or even from Africa and Asia.
Right from early times it became practice to feed snails with a diet aimed at enhancing their culinary value. In recent years specialist snail farms in Australia, such as Simpson Snails, have begun to supply top-end restaurants with fresh and/or frozen snails which have been grown and processed in compliance with strict State Health authority and Local Government specifications. Similar to the traditional methods and presentation of escargot in France, Simpson Snails are grown in free range gardens and are supplemented with a special formula.
The snails are kept in large garden beds surrounded by a mesh fence, in which green leafy plants are grown. The plants not only provide food, but also hiding places for the snails.
They are misted with water several times each night so as to promote feeding. Simpson Snails live in special ‘condominiums’ where they are provided with food, shelter and water. No herbicides or artificial fertilisers are used.
Simpson Snails Pty Ltd is registered as a Food Business by the Corangamite Shire under the Victorian Food Act 1984 and is a member of the 12 Apostles Food Artisans Group.