If it’s good enough for the French, it’s good enough for us. A theory which worked with croissants, fries and garlic, and now, it seems, snails, which are busy crawling their way onto a plate near you.
But if you’re one of the many diners who baulk at the idea of downing a plate of garden pests, think again.
For snails have come out of their shells and are basking in the glory of being the new star superfood.
In fact, they’re so good, they’ve been introduced to the menu at high street favourite Café Rouge, with highlights like Ragout D’Escargots, a dish of snails and mushrooms in a rich sauce with truffle oil and a pastry top, on offer.
“Café Rouge is providing diners with a chance to be adventurous and tap into the growing snail trend without having to venture too far from home,” says ‘snail sommelier’, Helen Howard, who breeds her own award-winning snails.
“I really hope more Brits will give snails a go because they are a fantastic and delicious food with some serious superfood credentials!”
And here are six reasons why snails should be blazing a trail to your plate.
"Although they're not going to be high on my top 10 list of favourite foods,” admits nutritionist Rob Hobson from Healthspan. “Snails do provide a low calorie source of protein (unless you drench them in butter)”.
Protein is essential for building and repairing muscle, and is also better at filling you up than carbs and fat. Many people look to seafood as an easy source of protein, but actually, snails have more.
Hobson adds that snails are also a good source of iron, essential for building red blood cells and carrying energy around the body. A lack of iron can lead to extreme fatigue and anaemia.
Often cited as the ‘energy vitamin’, B12 is needed for making red blood cells, keeping the nervous system healthy, releasing energy from the food we eat and processing folic acid. Luckily, snails have lots of it.
Snails are also a good source of magnesium, which our bodies need to maintain a normal blood pressure, strengthen bones and also keep your heartbeat regular.
We don’t need much selenium in our bodies, but we do need some to keep a healthy immune system and to protect cells against damage. And yes, snails contain selenium.
Ah, the much-feted, heart-loving fatty acids. “Snails also supply a little Omega-3,” says Hobson, “which is good news for your heart.”
“Although, he adds, “they contain nowhere near the levels found in oily fish.”
Would you - or have you - tried snails? Tell us in the Comments box below.