I am interested in finding out where the cruise lines get their escargot. I saw Master Chief inquiry asking if escargot are back on the Carnival menus? He said they had been taken off awhile back and were not available for a while.
I had seen this type comment about lack of snails on menu and the response that you could still get them in the specialty restaurant. However, I also read at the time of the first inquiry that Barbados was suffering with a plague of snails.
This led me to my question about where do the cruise lines get the snails they offer as escargot.
There's a worldwide snail shortage this year. While the cruise lines can get some they aren't able to get enough for the 250k passengers that sail each week. It came up on my last cruise and they said it was temporary.
From what John heald stated on Facebook and his blog Carnical and most all cruise lines get them from Sout Asia, can't remember exactly which country.
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After seeing conflicting comments like the following:
"There is a drought in Indonesia where most of the Escargot come from."
"As you know we have had to stop serving Escargot in the dining rooms due to supply problems caused by terrible floods in Indonesia."
I did a little more research on the subject and found the following information.
Snails: Raw Materials Short Due to Poor Weather Conditions
Source Schreiber Foods international, Inc. Posted on June 4, 2012 by foodblog
Snails (shelled mollusks) are related to clams and oysters except they live on land and not in the ocean. There are two basic types of snails: the Helix snail, or European land snail with spiral shells, and the Achatine, or Asian snail that lives in swampy areas. Our Ambrosia snails are of the Achatine type and come from Indonesia. Snail meat is used for escargot and is usually served in its shell with a special sauce that includes garlic, butter, wine and spices. Our Ambrosia snails are cooked in brine with spices, herbs and vegetables before canning, thus they have a savory flavor right out of the can.
Snails have been extremely scarce during the past two years in Indonesia. Packers normally source snails during the rainy season that lasts from November through March. Snails are obtained from the wild Ė they arenít farmed like most of the European Helix snails are, and are therefore very sensitive to weather conditions. Last year the rainy season was very short and this year it was extremely tough, with lots of flooding in the area snails are usually found. One of the largest packers claimed that they couldnít obtain enough raw materials to run the factory most days. They usually shut down the facilities during the dry season but this year they are planning to run longer and just keep packing as raw material comes in to fill orders. Since there are so many unfilled orders we canít expect this situation to ease up until after next yearís rainy season.
My only question is why they can't use the European land snail?
I love escargot smothered in butter and garlic. To me a cruise is not successful unless there is escargot on my plate. On my next cruise, I am going to check for pay restaurants for escargot availability if it not offered in the main restaurants.
On a B2B total 14 day Caribbean cruise this past February on the Celebrity Solstice I had escargot every night in the MDR. Don't know where they came from but no shortage on the Solstice.
O F C'er
I was on the Celebrity Solstice one month after her maiden voyage and I thought that of all the cruise lines I had been on the Solstice had a great
menu consistently. I would expect that if there was one ship that could come up with escargot it would be the Solstice.
Snail pace -Very clever. You might like this "Giant African Snail Farming Made Fun."
Originally Posted by AR
This thread is proceeding at a snail's pace.
I thought this article was an additional bit of snail farmacology. The snails aare banned by US governement for human consumption. So they probably will not be on ships.
Lagos, Nigeria (CNN) -- The harvesting of snails as a delicacy has traditionally been synonymous with countries such as France and Italy.
But for one savvy entrepreneur in Nigeria, a giant version of the meaty mollusc is helping him tap into a market he says can generate high profits with little initial outlay.
Snail farming is often done small-scale at the back of homes and office compounds in the Nigerian city of Lagos. That's where businessman Ismail AbdulAzeez is rearing giant African snails, which can grow up to 20 cm (7.9 inches) in length.
"To get something like this," says AbdulAzeez holding up a snail shell the size of his palm, "you'll (initially) spend about 25 Naira (16 cents), assuming you're working with about 10,000 snails at a time."
But once fully grown, the snails can sell for 250 Naira ($1.64), depending on the season, he says.
AbdulAzeez has just sold his latest harvest to a number of luxury hotels and high-class restaurants in Lagos.
But he says the snails he grows are also receiving the attention of foreign buyers in Europe and beyond -- attracted by the size of the snails and their relatively low price.
The UK, Norway and other European countries are some of the final destinations for his snails.
And AbdulAzeez is quick to point out the potential that start ups such as his own could have in helping other young entrepreneurs climb their way out of poverty.
He claims to have so far taught more than 1,000 people how to create their own snail farm businesses and says that those who are successful could earn as much as $15,000 every two years.
I would say that the snail farming provides opportunities that are yet to be seized.
--K.A. Monney, author of Giant African Snail Farming Made Fun
But others say snail farming in Nigeria, and other West African countries remains, on the whole, an area of unfulfilled potential.
According to K.A. Monney, head of the Department of Entomology and Wildlife at Ghana's University of Cape Coast, snail entrepreneurs like AbdulAzeez remain the exception rather than the rule.
"Such ventures are lacking in Africa, I am afraid. To the best of my knowledge snail farming attempts have been sporadic," says Monney, who is also author of the book, "Giant African Snail Farming Made Fun."
He adds that while some businesses may have brought structure, order and professionalism to the sector, much of what passes for snail harvesting in West Africa remains opportunistic.
During the West African wet season of April to August -- when snails break their otherwise dormant state in order to breed -- it is not uncommon for them to be captured in the wild and sold in local marketplaces, says Monney.
Outside of this period, however, there is a very noticeable lack of snail meat or snail product for sale almost everywhere in West Africa.
"In the dry season ... December to March, you don't get anybody selling snails," he says. "If there were farms that (is when) you would have got them."
But despite the difficulties of structure and planning, Monney believes that turning giant snail farming into a viable and profitable industry remains a distinct possibility.
"I would say that the snail farming provides opportunities that are yet to be seized. I have researched into snail farming quite a bit and the potential is there ... but it has not been explored and exploited," he says.
He adds: "My hope is that as people get to know how to produce them a commodity chain would be established."
Not sure about cruise lines, but the Helix snails we offer in the restaurant I manage are from France. Doesn't seem to be a shortage of them as they've been on our menu for years.
In France how are the escargots offered. US tradition is each one in a shell.
Is this how the helix is offered in your restaurant. If there are other dishes that escargot are offered, could you enlighten me? This email was very enlightening.
One of the most famous dishes in French cuisine is escargot, a preparation of snails which can be served with a variety of sauces. Some American consumers find the thought of escargot somewhat disconcerting, as snails are not associated with food in the United States. However, Americans eat other mollusks, such as abalone, and some adventurous diners do try escargot at least once for the experience. When well prepared, the flavor and texture can be quite delightful, and snails have been enjoyed in many Mediterranean nations for centuries.While people who are not from France think that the word refers to a specific dish, in fact it is a generic term for edible snails. The most common preparation for escargot is boiling or steaming, and the snails are often served in the shell on a special escargot plate, which has small depressions for each shell. Diners use tongs to extract the flesh from the shell, along with small two-tined snail forks, and then dip the snail into the sauce provided. A garlic and butter sauce is the most common, but wine sauces and others are not unusual.
Snails can be collected in the wild or farmed for prepared escargot. Farmed snails are fed on a mixture of green and dried foods, with some snail raisers preferring dried food because it is less messy than fresh greens. Some cooks also feed the snails herbs like dill to lend a delicate flavor to the escargot. Either way, the snails must go through a period of fasting which usually lasts for one week before being prepared to cleanse their intestines, which can make the dish turn bitter if not completely emptied. During the fasting period, the snails are kept in wooden ventilated boxes and food is withheld. The snails are gently washed every other day in running water, with stimulates them to empty their guts.Some cooks salt their snails, producing a large amount of foam which removes the last of their impurities. Others simply throw the snails into salted boiling water for cooking before draining them and bringing them to the table to eat, either as an appetizer or an entree. Simmering the snails in a white wine can also add to the flavor, and in addition to being served plain, escargot can be tossed with pasta or used to stuff vegetables for appetizers.